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Latham displays utter ignorance on Geoff Clark.

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Senator Amanda Vanstone

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Reconciliation

Latham Displays Utter Ignorance On Geoff Clark

vIPS 009/04

Mark Latham's question in Parliament today to the Prime Minister on Geoff Clark displayed a dangerous level of ignorance.

If Mr Latham was actually on top of this issue he would know that I first had to suspend Mr Clark. This process has already commenced. In fact, a Statement of Reasons relating to Mr Clark's suspension was tabled before both Houses of Parliament on 12 February 2004.

This was the first step required by the ATISC Act to terminate Mr Clark.

It's incredible that Mr Latham doesn't know that Mr Clark just can't be 'sacked'. There are clear legal processes set by the Parliament that have to be followed.

Surely, a person that puts himself forward as the alternative Prime

Minister would have bothered to check what is required under the law before trying to use such a serious issue as a political hand-grenade?

It is also dumbfounding that Mr Latham did not know that Mr Clark's suspension is disallowable by Parliament.

Clearly, Mr Latham should have known that the Statement of Reasons was already before the Parliament.

Mr Latham should have known that the Parliament has critical role under the ATSIC Act.

Mr Latham should have also known that the time for moving any disallowance motion in the House of Representatives actually expired yesterday.

Populist politics is fast becoming Mr Latham's trademark. It's easy to snipe on the sidelines about every headline grabbing issue under the sun but if Mr Latham is to become the next Prime Minister he needs to actually put some substance to his hot air.

(NB: The time for the Statement of Reasons to be disallowed in the Senate expire next Wednesday)

Media Enquiries: Senator Vanstone's office: Damon Hunt 0419 691 944

25 March 2004