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PM falls short of Westminster Convention on ministerial responsibility: Brown.

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14 February 2002

PM falls short of Westminster Convention on Ministerial Responsibility: Brown

The PM should provide evidence that he sought available contrary advice to the ‘children overboard’ story, Greens Senator Bob Brown said today.

“Otherwise, Mr Howard falls short of the principle of ministerial accountability in the Westminster tradition outlined by former Liberal Attorney General Billy Snedden in 1966:

‘If the Minister is free from personal fault and could not by reasonable diligence have prevented the mistake, there is no compulsion to resign’.

“The PM’s department was advised in a footnote to an advice from the Defence Strategic Command on 10 October that “there is no indication that children were thrown overboard.” Reasonable diligence by the PM would have obtained this advice.

“It is not believable that the PM sought this advise and his Department withheld it,” Senator Brown said.

Further information: Ben Oquist 02 62773170 or 0419704095

Category: Senate Office Author: Ben Oquist