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Alexander Downer evades the central question.

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Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs


Did Downer’s office breach national security and leak a top-secret document?

The Foreign Minister was asked three very simple questions today:

! First, did any member of his personal staff add to a departmental brief provided to Senator Macdonald for questioning of Mr Andrew Wilkie at the parliamentary inquiry on Iraq?

! Second, did any of his staff insert any information drawn from the contents of a top-secret national security report into the brief his office provided to Senator Macdonald?

! Third, did a member of his personal staff request from ONA a fresh copy of the top-secret ONA report authored by Andrew Wilkie in the period immediately prior to the publication of its contents by the journalist Mr Andrew Bolt in the Herald Sun newspaper?

The Foreign Minister failed to answer all three questions.

Instead, Mr Downer sought to blame me for his problems and accuse me of leaking top-secret documents.

Mr Downer pointed to my 13 March media release, which quoted Mr Wilkie. Conveniently he failed to mention that Mr Wilkie’s comments in this release were taken from a Bulletin article published the day before.

If this is Alexander Downer’s best defence on a possible breach of the Crimes Act, it is as pathetic as it is adolescent.

The truth is yet to be established on this matter. But there is still a long way to go.

Ends. 14 October 2003

Further information: Kevin Rudd, MP 0418 796 931 or Alister Jordan 0417 605 823