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Tuesday, 24 June 2003
Page: 17291

Mr FORREST (3:04 PM) —My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Special Minister of State. Is the minister aware of allegations of improper activities by Karim Kisrwani? What is the government's response to these allegations?

Mr ABBOTT (Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service) —I certainly am aware of allegations of improper donations by Mr Karim Kisrwani. There have been repeated allegations of this nature from members opposite against this man over the last few weeks. Let me say that these allegations smear a fine Australian—who is certainly not the Liberal Party bagman, as represented by people like the member for Reid. Over the years, Mr Kisrwani has had many friends—not all of them Liberal Party members—and has been involved in many political party fundraisers, not all of them Liberal Party fundraisers. For instance, the other day I came across some interesting information in a book called The Fixer: The untold story of Graham Richardson. It says:

In December, Eddie Obeid—

Eddie Obeid is, in fact, a minister in the Carr government—

and his business partner—

rather, he is an ex-minister in the Carr government—

Karim Kisrwani, attended their first of many $100-a-head fund-raising dinners for Premier Neville Wran.

These people are happy to smear Mr Kisrwani now, but they were not too proud to use him once. The chapter from Marian Wilkinson's book is entitled `Ghosts from the Past'. I have to say that this is one ghost that is still haunting members opposite. In fact, before the last election the member for Reid was concerned about the preselection of his factional colleague, Mr David Borger. He asked no less a person than Mr Karim Kisrwani to provide stackers for branches friendly to Mr Borger. He also said that he would pay the membership fees of those stackers.

The member for Lalor likes to provide numbers. After investigations, I suggest that the member for Lalor might have a look at Australian Labor Party New South Wales branch membership No. 991484. Investigate that, and see how far it complies with the rules of the Australian Labor Party. We all know that the Labor Party plays its politics pretty rough in Western Sydney, but things have come to a pretty sorry state when the member for Reid has to draw on the services of someone who he now says is a Liberal Party bagman to try to protect his own factional position.

Over the past few weeks, we have seen a great deal of stone throwing against the minister for immigration, who is an honourable man doing a very good job under difficult circumstances. Let me say this: these stone throwers do not live in glass houses; they live in glass cathedrals. It is about time that members opposite got off the dirt track and tried to give the Australian people a bit of policy that one day they might be able to vote for.