Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Transcript of Peter Reith MP

Download PDFDownload PDF


Deputy Leader of the Opposition

E & O E


FETTER THOMPSON: In Canberra, the Prime Minister has been accused of a cover-up by the Federal Opposition, after it was revealed that the WA Inc Royal Commission was refused access to tax records by Mr Keating when he was Treasurer. The Shadow Treasurer and Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Peter Reith, says Mr Keating's refusal to grant access to tax records conflicted with the access given to the Fitzgerald Inquiry

in Queensland. Mr Reith says it looks as if Labor has been looking after its mates.

On another front, the Marshall Islands affair, it's been revealed that the relative for whom the Minister for Communications, Graham Richardson, wrote a business reference for, Greg Symons, went into voluntary liquidation three years ago with debts

of $1.5 million. Peter Reith is talking to John Shovelan.

PETER REITH: The evidence seems to suggest that when it comes to looking after his Labor mates the door is closed, but when it comes to getting stuck into the National Party in Queensland the door is open for access to tax information. And we've had now, sort of two clear examples of this just in the last week or so. One is this WA Inc, and the other, of course, is Mr Keating looking after his mate, Richo, in the allegations in respect of Marshall Islands. And I think it is of interest that, of course, Senator Richardson's cousin by marriage, when he went bankrupt, owed half a million dollars to Rothwells, and Rothwells of course was at the centre of, and is at the centre of the corruption commission in Western Australia.

JOHN SHOVE1LAN: Do you consider that revelation that Senator Richardson's relation had moved into voluntary bankruptcy a serious, a new revelation in the whole Marshall Islands affair?

PETER REITH: Well, it certainly adds to it, because Senator Richardson apparently has been giving references th at this person was of upright financial standing, and all it does, I think, is simply ask and reveal a whole lot more questions that need to be answered.

JOHN SHOVEiLAN: Do you think it's possible Senator Richardson didn't know about that though, before he gave the reference?

PETER REITH: Look, we don't have a clue what Senator Richardson knows, although it always seems when you press him he knows more than what he's been saying.

JOHN SHOVELAN: Why is it that the Federal Government is supposed to be involved

.. . COMMO.NWEALTi i ’

....................... — ..... ............................... ...... ...................... - PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY


___________________________________________________________________________ Page 2

in a cover-up in not allowing access to the West Australian Royal Commission to access to tax records?

PETER RETTH: Well, in recent years the precedent has been established to provide tax information to royal commissions, and what we don't have from Mr Keating is any explanation as to why this case ought to be treated differently to other cases. And that's why the onus is on him to come clean, otherwise people will naturally draw a conclusion that, you know, it smells like a cover-up.

JOHN SHOVELAN: So, if you were in government, that would be a convention you would always follow if you were Treasurer? You would always allow royal commissions access to tax records?

FETTER RETTH: Well, certainly a precedent has been established in recent years, and if Mr Keating wants to take a different view, then he ought to say publicly exactly why. And, on this occasion, he's remained steadfastly silent and obviously has put the pressure on the other two Ministers to take the same line.

PETER THOMPSON: Shadow Treasurer, Peter Reith.

4 T.