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The Richardson affair



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Leader o f the Opposition

19 May 1992 TRANS\NM\BNE0004

TRANSCRIPT OF DR JOHN HEWSON MP DOORSTOP INTERVIEW ASPLEY COURT RETIREMENT ESTATE, BRISBANE

E & OE - PROOF COPY ONLY

SUBJECTS: The Richardson Affair

Jrnlst:

The Prime Minister believes the Richardson affair is finished. Why don't you believe it is? .

Hewson:

Well, w e ’re not going to give up on the whole issue. It's not just Richardson, as I've said all along. The Prime Minister's got a long way to go to demonstrate his bona fides in this. When he gives equal access for example, to the Western

Australia corruption inquiry to the tax records that they need, the same as he gave to the Fitzgerald Inquiry in

Queensland, we'll believe he's serious.

He's running a damage control strategy and we are not going to give in. My colleagues in the Senate are going to continue to pursue the issues - not Just some of the unanswered questions about Graham Richardson, but unanswered questions about the

role of Senator Evans; about Senator Sibraa; about our

immigration policy; about the Austrade grants that were given to Mr Symons; about the links with WA Inc. It is a big issue. It goes to the very heart of this Government, and that is

dishonesty of government. If they're not an honest

Government, and if they're not prepared to have a full inquiry Into that type of thing, it's begging the question of what they've got to hide.

They equally are not prepared to deal with the problems. They don't have an honest approach to unemployment now. They don't have an honest approach to this recession. He created it. He lied about it, and now he's trying to hide from it. We're

going to continue on that issue.

Jrnlst;

As far as WA Inc is concerned, do you believe it is a case of "we ain't seen nothing yet"?

Parliament House, Canberra. A.C.T. 2600

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY M IC AH

Phone 277 4022

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Hewson: *

WA Inc is on record, so far, as suggesting that there are very very significant transactions that have taken place involving links between the Government and the business community. And the Western Australian Corruption Commission really needs to be able to conduct the same sort of inquiry that Fitzgerald conducted in Queensland.

Now, what has Mr Keating got to hide? Who is he protecting? They're the sort of questions. In saying that of course, I'm not going to accept his argument either that we are running this as a distraction. This is a man who ran the Flag as a

distraction, manhandled the Queen as a distraction, belted the Poms as a distraction. And I'm happy to debate the Prime

Minister, and I reiterate that challenge today: every night between now and the next election on any television channel he wants, on any aspect of the Fightback! package. And I will continue to do what I've done, today - get out and sell our message on a daily basis.

But in the meantime, my colleagues are going to keep working. They're going to keep digging. We're going to keep releasing a lot of the Information we've got. Look, to put ’Graham

Richardson on the backbench, with a deal probably to bring him back if they happen to win the next election, will not satisfy anybody. A vote for Paul Keating is a vote for Graham

Richardson.

Jrnlst:

How much more information have you got, and how good is it.?

Hewson:

Look, we have been under this sort of pressure all the way through. We've continued to release the information as appropriate. Yesterday we believe Senator Richardson pulled out because he knew what we had, and he knew what damage we

could do, and he knew what Four Corners was going to do, and so he tossed the towel in and hoped to mount an effective

effort to control the damage.

The fact is that this dishonesty goes to the very heart of the Keating Government. This is the guy, after all, that lied about the recession. This is the guy that distorts our

history for the sake of political gain. This is the guy that attacks our institutions like the Flag for political gain, and he's saying "Dr Hewson, get back on the main game". For

crying out loud, he hasn't been on the main game yet and we are going to... I issue the challenge: let's have the debate every night on the main game, but my colleagues are going to keep digging and they're going to keep releasing; they're going to keep fighting this issue.

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Jrnlst:

Why won't you release the Information you've got?

H e w s o n :

Well, we've released a lot of the information we've g o t , and we will continue...

Jrn l s t :

What else have you got?

H e w s o n :

It's a question of handling the issue as we've got them.

We've got Government Ministers on the record misleading the Parliament. We had Senator Richardson who has Just basically lied to the Parliament, and he's been proven to have done so - not just in that Censure Motion,- which was effectively carried

- but all the information that was released yesterday

demonstrates Just how far he fell short of giving a full

account of his involvement. So, stick a r o u n d .

E n d s .