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Tuesday, 4 November 2003
Page: 22011

Mr Rudd asked the Prime Minister, upon notice, on 4 February 2003:

(1) Has he made statements about the need to prevent Iraq from providing terrorists with weapons of mass destruction.

(2) In the 21 years since Iraq has had weapons of mass destruction, to which terrorist organisations has the Government of Iraq provided weapons of mass destruction, and when did it do so.

Mr Howard (Prime Minister) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes. I have stated on several occasions that one of the government's primary concerns with respect to Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction was that the more the world leaves unchecked either the possession of weapons of mass destruction by rogue states or the spread of those weapons, the more likely it becomes that terrorists will acquire and use them.

(2) Iraq had known links to a variety of terrorist groups, and some of those groups had a known desire to acquire weapons of mass destruction. With the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime the government considers it will now be possible to obtain further useful intelligence on the efforts of such terrorist groups to acquire weapons of mass destruction.