House debates

Monday, 13 February 2006

Howard Government

Censure Motion

3:11 pm

Photo of Kevin RuddKevin Rudd (Griffith, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade and International Security) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you, Mr Speaker. Therefore, based on the Prime Minister’s argument and given that we now know that full documentation was not provided to Volcker, and based on what he said to this parliament today, the powers of the Cole commission must now be expanded. You can go nowhere else other than that. If the government did not provide electronic files, it means they did not provide emails. Emails are part of electronic files. Therefore, you did not provide full documentation to Volcker. We already know from the Cole commission of inquiry how much critical information is contained in email traffic. If the government’s entire defence is constructed on that premise, it has collapsed in this parliament today. That is the Prime Minister’s credibility.

As for the Deputy Prime Minister’s credibility, it has exploded around this single argument. The Deputy Prime Minister said that all previous warnings received by the government were not specific to AWB. You have said that warnings that were received by the Coalition Provisional Authority did not refer to the AWB by name. With regard to the Treasury document referred to in today’s press, the government’s response was that the AWB was not referred to by name. Deputy Prime Minister, this document by the United States Department of Defense does make a reference explicitly to the AWB by name. Your entire defence at this point collapses as well. This document was referred to the Coalition Provision Authority by the US Department of Defense. You have senior representation on the Coalition Provisional Authority. It was therefore in the government’s possession. You have not denied that in question time. As a consequence, as a government you were in possession of documentation that warned you specifically of what the AWB was up to—the inflating of prices under the oil for food program. For those reasons you stand censured. (Time expired)


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