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Vanstone's cover-up - why did she not distribute the corrective press release?

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Medina Release Senator John Faulkner Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Shadow Minister for Social Security


How many mistakes will Mr Howard allow Amanda Vanstone before he demands her resignation?

After the Daily Telegraph article “Millionaires on Welfare” was published on September 25 she covered up the fact that the “Wright family” was bogus, even though her own head of department, on September 26, advised her to distribute a press release to correct the matter.

The Prime Minister’s guidelines state that “Ministers must be honest in their public dealings and should not intentionally mislead the Parliament or the public. Any misconception caused inadvertently should be corrected at the earliest opportunity”. .

Senator Vanstone did not do this. She misled the Parliament and the public.

• In the meantime the story appealed to the worst prejudices of the Australian public about people who draw social security benefits.

Nothing the Minister said in the Senate today explains her failure to correct the record “at the earliest opportunity”. She now says the Department even provided her with a press release on the matter and was advised to distribute it. She didn’t.

She should have written to every editor in the country who ran the story. She should have informed every member of the Employment, Education and Training Committee. She should have informed the Senate as a whole.

The headline cast a slur on social security recipients across the country, and she ought to resign.

For Further Information: Colin Campbell 2273233/ 0419 634 919 October 17 1996

(Advice and press release attached) .

COMMONWEALTH pa r l ia m e n t a r y LIBRARY