Tuesday, 20 March 2007
On Tuesday, 6 March, on The World Todayan ABC program hosted by Gillian Bradford—it was stated:
That is false and misleading. I have not paid Brian Burke to do any work for me or my companies.
Further, the article on the front page of the Australian on 3 March stated:
Mr Burke has also revealed to friends that West Australian Liberal MP Geoff Prosser has paid for lobbying services. Mr Prosser, a former federal small business minister [was] forced to resign for improper business dealings in 1997 ...
I was not forced to resign for improper business dealings. I have never been involved in improper business dealings. The article went on to say:
Mr Prosser’s business dealings with the controversial lobbyist—
referring to Brian Burke—
will embarrass the Prime Minister.
Again, I have not hired nor paid Brian Burke to do anything for me or for any company which I have a shareholding in or association with.
The Herald Sun, in an article from 4 March, states:
The article states that Mr Abbott included me amongst those who had dealings with Mr Burke. The article continues:
News Ltd newspapers reported at the weekend that Mr Burke claimed he had been paid for lobbying services for one of Mr Prosser’s companies.
That is false and misleading. It goes on to say:
Mr Prosser is a former federal small business minister who was forced to resign for improper business dealings in 1997, and is retiring at this year’s election.
The remark about improper business dealings is false, misleading and libellous. Further, an article by Glenn Milne in the Sunday Telegraph on 18 March says: ‘Geoff Prosser has been tainted by the Brian Burke affair.’ Again, I have not had any dealings with Mr Burke. The Hobart Mercury on 6 March states, referring to Senator Ian Campbell:
The logic of the dismissal was compromised when Mr Howard offered no criticism of another coalition MP, former small business minister Geoff Prosser, who, it has been revealed, has had business dealings with Mr Burke.
Again, I have not had any business dealings with Mr Burke, nor have I hired or paid him to do anything.
The Gold Coast Bulletin of 6 March states:
Evidence has emerged of more government connections with Mr Burke, the former WA Premier who served jail time for fraud. Mr Burke has re-emerged as a lobbyist, which has led to three state Labor MPs losing their jobs. Prime Minister John Howard confirmed that WA federal Liberal MP Geoff Prosser has paid Mr Burke for lobbying services relating to his personal business affairs.
That is not true. Again I reiterate: neither I nor my company has hired or paid Brian Burke to do any work. Finally, an article from the Age of 6 March states:
John Howard admitted backbencher Geoff Prosser had actually hired Mr Burke as a lobbyist, but said, “So what?”, arguing that Mr Prosser was only a backbencher.
Again I reiterate: I have not hired Brian Burke nor have my companies hired Brian Burke to do any work. The articles are misleading and defamatory.
The Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources and others have consistently said my remarks about the automatic expansion of the coal industry being a thing of the past ceased there; they do not. The statement was followed immediately by the words: ‘But that doesn’t and shouldn’t mean we can’t have a sustainable coal industry.’ And I went on to say that we should have increasing support for clean coal technology, which is something that the Howard government seems to be particularly remiss in doing.