Tuesday 25th of June 2019

AWB In Question Time

Treasurer Peter Costello confirmed in Parliament today that bribes paid by the Australian Wheat board to Saddam Hussein were not tax deductible.

Mr Costello said that such claims would be in breach of the Income Tax Assessment Act. His statement contradicts that of AW's Chief Finance officer Paul Ingleby, who said in May this year that "all our advice is that these payments are deductible." The Australian Tax Office declined to comment to The Age at that time.

The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister were quick to point out that (in Mr Downer's words) "There are 66 countries referred to in the Volcker Report, and we are the only country to establish an inquiry."

Mr Downer asked Opposition Leader Beazly and Foreign Affairs Minister Rudd if they would apologise for allegations of Goverment callusion.

When asked why the Government, with Cole-reported prior knowledge of the claim, asked its ambassador to Washington to say that there was no problem, Mr Downer's response was to "totally reject the proposition put by the leader of the Opposition." He'll have to do better than that when the US inquiries begin, as this looks to be one of the main issues the Democrats are keen to examine.

Commission Cole found that"It is immaterial that the Commonwealth may have had the means or ability to find out that the information was misleading, or that it ought reasonably to have known that the information was misleading. It is also immaterial that the Commonwealth, at the time it approved the wheat contracts] suspected but did not know that the information was misleading."

With Commissioner Cole's words ringing in his ears Downer's view of events unrolling from the inquiry was that "The fact is that AWB Limited, on the conclusions of the Cole Commission have broken the law, may have broken the law and charges may be brought, may or may not be brought, we'll just have to wait and see."

When asked, near the end of the hour, of his opinion of a statement made by a coalition politician that "in the midst of this sadness and incrimination, there was a feeling of euphoria that it was over." Mr Howard replied "I wasn't aware of any party, I must be losing my touch.. I wasn't asked. Mr Howard then proceeed to fill precious minutes by describing the dinner he'd attended that evening.

Mr Howard also rejected claims by Opposition Leader Beazley that the Australian Government had "let" Saddam buy bullets. "That claim is absouletly false. The claims were proved to be a total falsehood by the findings of the Royal Commissioner."

In spite of the Cabinet's efforts to draw the curtains on the Cole Inquiry, you can expect to see a few encore performances yet.



Totally tasty, like.

A recipe for the man in the centre of a storm, aka Evil Karma - Smoked Australian grain-fed pork fillet and bushetta.


Bushetta is too polite a word


Up to category Pork the one you love

I'm too fussy for Lex. Mind you that scene from The Cook, The Thief The Wife and The Lover is playing before my eyes.

I couldn't believe how easily the Howard team batted today. Every Liberal ball was signed by Dorothy, and all that Labor threw was batted for a four. If this was meant to be a test of Kim's captaincy abilities, it's been a disaster.