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Senator Richardson - 2HD Senator twists and turns



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MEDIA RELEASE WARWICK SMITH M.P. Shadow Minister for C om m unications

SENATOR RICHARDSON - 2HD

Senator Twists and Turns

During the censure motion in the Senate last night a clear conflict has emerged from what the Senator has told the Senate and the Prime Minister about his involvement with Radio Station 2HD.

On April 29 Senator Richardson said:

Senator Walters - Just an oversight.

Senator Richardson - that is correct; just an oversight. I am glad we agree. The letter continues: "This oversight occurred because ..." p. 1790 Hansard

Yet last night he said:

"I told m y staff simply to put a line through the relevant paragraphs."

These statements are conflicting.

During the censure motion there is a 'mea culpa' in that he apologised in "acknowledging a wrong doing". But, when the matter was first raised he stated it was an oversight. When pressed, he admits it was a conscious decision and a direction to staff not to declare the directorship. He sought to defeat the direct

obligation of registering his interest. He admits it is not and was not an oversight. The statement of April 29 is in decided contrast to that of May 7. In Senator Richardson's response to the Censure Motion, we get a different story from that given on April 29.

Furthermore, in his letter of apology to the Prime Minister he compounds the offence by saying:

"I want to emphasise that the omission on m y part was not motivated by any attempt to conceal knowledge from yourself or Parliament."

Senator Richardson has changed his story between April 29 and May 7. He has been caught out by his own words.

COMMONWEALTH

PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

Senator Richardson's reliance on the fact he received no direct pecuniary interest for running 2HD is not sufficient excuse to have not filed his interest as a director. It is, in any event, only his assertion that no direct benefit accrued. It is the registration of the position that is required as its potential to attract direct personal benefit is always present. He seeks to interpret the rules for his own

convenience.

Clearly, Senator Richardson was of the view that to register an interest as a director of 2HD would not be politically smart. How smart is it to be tripped up by his own words? He has told Parliament one thing on April 29 and quite another on May 7.

The Prime Minister has no option but to stand him down immediately as Minister for Transport and Communications pending a full inquiry.

Censure Motion - Democrats

Last night the Democrats supported the censure motion with the exception of Senator Janet Powell (Communications spokesperson). Senator Powell did not give her reasons for voting in support of Senator Richardson. She should do so.

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