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Monday, 7 November 2005
Page: 36

Mr RUDD (2:49 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to his repeated claim last week that the Volcker inquiry exonerated his government from any involvement in approving Saddam Hussein’s $300 million Aussie slush fund. Prime Minister, is it not a fact that Volcker’s terms of reference only empowered Volcker to examine the role of UN agencies and UN contractors? Is it not also a fact that Volcker’s terms of reference did not empower Volcker to make any findings whatsoever in relation to any national government, Australian or otherwise? Prime Minister, will you have the courage to establish a royal commission, with full powers, to examine not just the Wheat Board’s role but the government’s role in bringing about this monumental scandal?

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —I will repeat what I said last week. What I said last week was that, despite the government providing total cooperation, despite the government providing all documents it was asked to provide, the Volcker inquiry offered not a zephyr of criticism of the Australian government. In relation to the inquiry, I have already said that the government will establish a full inquiry with appropriate powers and, when the advice from the government on that issue has been completed, I will have an announcement to make.