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Latham: rewriting the past.

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The Hon Kevin Andrews MP Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service

Wednesday March 17, 2004 KA70/04



MARK Latham has been caught rewriting the past with his latest $8 billion error.

Having been caught previously expunging his past, Mr Latham has now taken the extraordinary step of rewriting his speeches to cover up an $8 billion gaffe.

On the ALP website, Mr Latham has tried to cover up his $8 billion hole by replacing Average Weekly Ordinary Time Earnings (which is what he said in his speech) with Male Total Average Weekly Earnings.

It seems innocuous but the difference in those words is $8 billion.

Mr Latham said today that “You’d want documents to be 100 per cent accurate…this one was 99 per cent accurate…”

If one per cent equals an $8 billion hole it is fortunate for the Australian economy that the other 99 per cent was accurate - even if it was short on detail and long on rhetoric.

Even worse, Mr Latham is refusing to accept responsibility for his mistake by sending his minion, Nick Sherry, out to collect the blame.

Mr Latham has form with refusing to accept responsibility for his mistakes.

In the past he has blamed staffers for using the American flag as a prop. In his speech to the ALP conference he blamed staff for the changes made and then deleted from his speech.

Tellingly, when it comes to financial issues, he consistently refuses to accept any responsibility.

For instance the gaping deficit generated at the Liverpool City Council when he was Mayor became the fault of his successors - not the result of his policies.

The fact is the buck stops with Mr Latham, not his minions. In this case there are eight billion bucks which Mr Latham should accept responsibility for.

MEDIA inquiries: Felicity Dargan (Press Secretary) 0409 550 446.