Wheat Cheats

The scandal continues to widen as more revelations occur at the Cole Royal Commission into bribes paid to Saddam Hussein’s regime by Australia’s monopoly wheat exporter, AWB. Even Republican Senators in the USA are getting snippety. Simone Weil once wrote that “Petrol is more likely than wheat to be a cause of international conflict” but in this case it looks like it’s both.

It now appears clear that the kickbacks extend back at least until the period when the company was controlled by the Australian government.

I still want to see more detailed evidence before making definitive comments about how much responsibility the current government must take for this situation, but I do think it is now beyond dispute that the terms of reference for this Royal Commission should be widened.

I learnt a lot from my involvement in the Senate Committee that inquired into (among other things) the “Children Overboard” incident . However, one of the main things that stuck out was how Government Ministers had now built a highly effective firewalls of personal staff around them, enabling the Ministers to maintain plausible deniability of having been told something inconvenient. The number of loose ends that ended up leading into that black hole was substantial, and it was beyond the power (or at least the political will) of the Senate Committee to follow them.

The Royal Commissioner must be able to have ready access to the personal staff of Ministers, as well as Department officials, if he is to have any hope of clearly determining who knew what, when and what they did about it. It is bad enough that this subverting of the Oil for Food program in Iraq was allowed to occur (as it did in many other parts of the world, including the UN itself, it should be noted), but if any Minister was even half-aware that it might have been happening and allowed it to continue while our government readied itself to send Australians to war in Iraq, they should be made to resign from the Parliament, not just the Ministry.

ELSEWHERE:
Road to Surfdom has some comment, as does the Daily Flute.

Guido suggests that most Australians really don’t care much about corrupt or dishonest behaviour in government anymore, “unless it directly affects them” and “the economy is perceived to run smoothly”.

A related debate has been sparked about whether the monopoly export power, or single desk arrangement, currently held by AWB, should be allowed to remain. I mused about this on a previous post, pointing also to a long discussion about it on John Quiggin’s site. John, who has 30 years experience as an agricultural economist, has produced a more definitive view today, saying on balance he feels the single desk system should be abolished. As with is lost post on this, the comments are worth perusing as well.

I suspect some political momentum might build on reconsidering the single desk, although National Party Leader and Trade Minister, Mark Vaile, is still defending it strongly.

21st Feb – The latest evidence to the Commission provides a direct allegation from an AWB official that a DFAT officer “assured him the UN sanctions committee has actually been aware these payments have been happening but have been turning a blind eye if the amounts are not excessive”. If this allegation is accurate, it makes a clear inroad into the assertions that government officials were not aware that illegal payments were being made.

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33 Comments

  1. I want to know what the Canadians know! They appararently complained to AUSTrade several years ago.

    That means that Canada knew, the USA knew, the UN knew, the AWB knew, BHP knew, DFAT knew, AUStrade knew, the Iraqis (who we were spying on) knew, Jordan knew, the Iraqi Response Committee knew … but not anyone in the government.

    I also want to know what the AWB CEO’s comment about using a “friendly bank like the ANZ” meant. I rang the ANZ but the Customer Service person on the other end of the phone claimed she had not heard of the AWB and the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal. (She promised to get back to me).

    ARGH!

  2. I think most Australians do care – a lot – about corrupt or dishonest behaviour and practices both from elected government members and bureaucrats – but I also think they have no idea of what to do about it or how to stop it – all supposing they get to hear about it in the first place.

    And we usually don’t until someone happens to stumble upon it, or an ‘insider’ gets disgruntled and blows the lid. And when something is exposed there is so much running for cover and so many shouts of ‘it wasn’t me’ and ‘I didn’t know’ and counter claims and accusations, that it’s hard to work out who’s responsible or where the buck stops.

    People end up feeling helpless, powerless and in the end just ignoring it.

    Not the best solution or any kind of solution at all, but unless we can convince the average punter that it is a worthwhile exercise to engage more in the political process, that it is possible to hold parliamentarians and bureaucrats accountable, that it is possible to get to the truth and deal with those responsible, and that it is possible to not have this stuff happen in the first place, people will just continue to throw up their hands and say ‘what a bunch of corrupt bastards but there’s nothing I can do about it so I may as well get on with my life here.’

    People could of course vote to toss out a government that’s been shown to be presiding over corrupt behaviours, but to do that you need a viable alternative that you know you can trust and believe in and that is clearly different from what you already have.

    And tossing out a government doesn’t do a lot in terms of stopping the possibility of corruption within the various departments.

    Transparency and openness of processes coupled with a strong code of ethics that is actually practiced and adhered to, would go a long way to giving the average Australian confidence that it is possible to keep their elected representatives and the bureaucratic system accountable and honest.

    But how do you get that?

  3. Floss the hysterical thing is that most of the time we now know the ministers don’t know anything but we can’t give up and say nothing can be changed.

    In November 2001 I learned from a journalist, a lawyer, a social worker and a family of Iranian refugees what had been going on in Woomera. The stories are so appalling that in an ealier blog Andrew said the most memorable thing about the first days hearings for the migration act was the words of the lawyer “we yelled, and we screamed, we went to the federal court, the family court, the magistrates court and the high court and the law didn’t change and Woomera is still there and nothing changed.”

    Woomera is still there but it is empty and I hope it remains empty and preserved as a monument to the astonishing cruelty inflicted on the 4,000 men, women and kids forced to “live” in the monstrous place.

    On that November night though we set some goals – I would do the media and research and we all worked for not a brass razoo for years and made some considerable gains.

    We closed Woomera. Children are not held behind razor wire and electric fences in the desert for years anymore. The Al Kateb decision on permanent detention for the stateless people who can’t go anywhere has been largely overturned thanks to some liberals who found is utterly repugnant and really long term detention is no longer possible.

    Of course we still have people dragged or flown to Christmas Island and the 234 submissions to the committee inquiry make terrible reading – but then I worked intimately with people involved with Woomera for many years so nothing much makes me sick anymore.

    Then came my real challenge when the Bakhtiyari family were deported. I knew they were no more Pakistani frauds than I am – they don’t know anything about Pakistan, can’t speak the language and aren’t allowed to be there. In Pakistan Shi’a Hazaras are murdered anyway but our government didn’t care too much. The two little boys had embarrassed them so they had to go.

    Anyway I tried all through 2004 to get the truth and Andrew helped get a good deal of it, along with a couple of journos who tried to get the story told, an expert in Pakistani documents, a young and now destroyed lawyer, carers and Senator Kirk all helped me.

    I had all but the smoking gun to prove the fraud the day they were whisked away and got it the day of my 52nd birthday. DIMA had decided to send the FOI documents 3 weeks after they were deported and they held the smoking gun.

    From that I handed what I had written and researched to David Corlett who already had a book in the works and could get it published. Then people began to find the boys in Afghanistan and give them work, notably the IOM for Australia gave Monty his best job, and journos started to read the book and realise they had destroyed an innocent family. Some of their reviews of Corlett’s book made me weep. Others made me rage with fury at the blindness of the fools.

    Any way that led to Paul McGeough investigating in Kabul, interviewing Alamdar, getting the AFghan ID that the Australian government had already received in a short form on 19 December 2004, interviewed the former ambassador who blew the whistle on Amanda Vanstone and then Linda Kirk, Andrew and others in the senate committee got more.

    The latest stuff shows very clearly that Roqia and the kids were illegally locked up for nearly 4 years, Ali’s visa was illegally cancelled and he was locked up for 2 years for nothing, Pakistan refused to stamp and validate travel papers for Roqia and the kids and here is the throw away answer to the whole thing.

    Roqia is deemed to be a Pakistani due to her relationship to Mr Bakhtiyari. Except the verification is for Asghar Ali, with a living father called Hasan Ali, DOB 1971.

    That is not and never had been Ali Bakhtiyari.

    Three governments were involved in the deportation of this family. Two did the right thing. Afghanistan tried to prevent it by claiming them. Pakistan refused to endorse the travel.

    Australia chartered a $250,000 jet and flew it empty almost the whole way around the world with no travel documentation, no flight plan, no right of entry to any place and then bribed their way into Islamabad, dumped the family in the snow and ran away.

    The moral of the story is this Floss – never give up because sooner or later the secrets are no longer secrets.

    The AWB scandal makes me sick to my stomach, and probably starved tens of thousands of Iraqi kids to death.

    Australia has to start calling it what it is. Theft of $300 million from the pockets of the starving, poor and tortured that was shoved into the hands of the bastard who was starving them.

  4. I am not surprised by how this scandal is evolving and how the Government is dealing with it. There are so many other “scandals” simmering below the surface trying to get through the web that the Government has put in place.

    It is so obvious what the Government is doing yet it seems that nothing can be done about it no matter what they do! Surely that is not in our best interest. The system is set up to cover up and protect the reputation of the Government at any cost, problem is that it is not just protecting the reputation of those very high up in Government it is protecting those not so high up in Government and those in the Public Service that are abusing their power and as a result the people and society are suffering a serious decline in standards and law and order. You can’t have a different set of laws, or no Laws, for those in the Government and Public Service as that isn’t fair. People notice and they get irate and they then follow the example. Remember the old saying “If you can’t beat them, join them!”.

    Parliamentary secretaries are just another level of cover up, what’s the bet that they are protected by the same Legislation that protects Ministers from having to give evidence and from being investigated into allegations of moral misconduct and corruption.

    I have had dealings with the processes. First Australia Post always collects all mail directed to Ministers regardless whether you paid for direct person to person delivery. It is irrelevant that, at the Australia Post counter, they assure you that nobody else except the person on the envelope can sign for it and that you pay for that exact service. That mail gets sent to Ministerial correspondence Units to be dealt with. Those in the Ministerial correspondence units send the letter to the Department or Unit that is involved and they are asked to provide a response to the letter and or allegations. Then, depending on the matter, who and what it involves and the allegations, the reply is presented to the Minister for him to sign or if it is something controversial the Parliamentary secretary replies and signs in on behalf of the Minister, or another person signs it. That’s why Ministers never know anything except statistics as that is the only things that get through. There is no accountability and no duty of care

    So then, whenever any contact is made about the issue those in the system refer to the report/tale prepared by those responsible and sitting on top that of course says there is nothing happening and it is just the person complaining who is disgruntled and crazy and that the matter has been dealt with. Nobody independent or that hasn’t got conflict of interest/duties actually investigates or looks into anything because you see they have great faith in their fellow public servants and they are very busy so they believe the report prepared by those responsible – so long as they all use the same process they are safe. We are being denied Procedural Fairness.

    The Governments reason for having to do it like this is that they get a lot of letters. Well, maybe if they actually dealt with the issues then they wouldn’t get so many letters instead of covering up, brushing people off and feeding them rubbish.

    It is true that persistence is the only way to get through the web. Marilyn you were lucky that you got help with the misconduct and corruption that you were trying to expose. People either ignore me or attack me. My family have had to do it alone, years down the track, more anguish and despair than any family should ever have to suffer just trying to get protection for our children and to be treated fairly and at this point $25,000 that we had to borrow from the bank. I can only imagine how many thousands the Government has spent as they have also had to have a Barrister and Solicitor appear in Court trying to avoid investigating our allegations. The system hasn’t seen the end of me, until they offer my family our human right to be heard and our human right to be treated fairly we will pursue our matter relentlessly regardless of how many people say “You can’t win against the big guns”. It’s our basic human right to be treated fairly.

    I guess that nothing will change until we have a change in attitude and instead of people trying to scare you or encouraging you to give up they should say “What can I do to help?”

    If we want to really scare the Government we have to help and support each other as united we stand, divided we fall and we all know that those in the system are under no obligation to do the right thing and that they really are not required to care, not even enough to be FAIR..

  5. Thanks Marilyn

    I wasn’t thinking of giving up just trying to explain why in my view, people seem to be apathetic when I don’t believe they are.

    I’m aware of the Bakhtiyari family troubles and in fact the whole mess that is the Immigration Department. I find the way these things happen appalling and I totally support Andrew’s stance on refugee matters.

    However this stuff is not restricted to just immigration – the stuff ups and cover ups are right across the board. As the incident Andrew’s posting is about shows.

    I see myself as an average Australian who gleans most of her information from the media. What I’ve read and heard is, I’m sure, just the tip of the iceberg.

    Marilyn I mean this in the nicest possible way: I admire your persistence and determination on behalf of the family but I don’t want to participate in the discussion between you and Geoff on this issue, which is why I chose this post to comment on.

    I put up my comment because I was hoping for a broader discussion on what sort of processes and structures can and should be put in place to ensure both a more transparent and accountable government and public service, and to minimize the possibility of these things happening again. And to encourage the average Australian to feel more inclined to engage with the political process.

    Just musing on from that – and given Jolanda’s story – maybe the capacity our public servants have in administering the governments laws/regulations etc, needs to be broader and more flexible in to give them the ability to assist with the different needs of individual people. But if that was so would they (the public servants) then also be even more able to cover up abuses and corrupt practices?

  6. I don’t see that we can do much to make the government more accountable floss. It’s really up to the people we have voted in. Those in executive government and opposition, etc.

    I do back CIR as it was proposed by One Nation and the Democrats though. Seems to work for the Swiss, no reason to believe it won’t work for us.

    That gives us more of a say in how the country is being run at least.

    I believe The ON Senator, ( who I can see but whose name escapes me) was the only one to call for a referendum on going into Iraq. Ahhh, Senator Harris.

  7. Andrew, I think it would make things easier for Marilyn if you simply made all your posts about the Bakhtiyari family, and didn’t post on any other topics.

    Then she wouldn’t need to go to the trouble of changing the subject, which needlessly wastes words which could be put to better use discussing the Bakhtiyari family.

  8. Marilyn. trying to be fair to all can you please tell us what is so bad about Woomera.? No I am not having a cheap shot at you. We really want to know. As their are people starving to death world wide we just dont get it. I mean they have food shelter dental etc. They get dental before our senior cits that have worked their whole lifes and paid taxes. What is your main concern about these places. What proof do you have of anything terrible?
    Please dont say the kids are behind wire. They all are. Its not like its around their necks is it? The main reason for the long detention is because they either wont say where they are from or lie. How can you expect thse people to just walk into our country? Anyway to be fair please tell us all what is the big problem please.Ausies are kind people but it has to be bad. Real Bad because as i said kids are dieing of starvation over the world. Kids and mothers. Please try to refrain from preaching by the way.

  9. I agree with you Geoff in as much as it’s up to the people we elect to do the right thing – and I think the majority probably do have the best intentions. But I still think its worthwhile to push for more accountability and more transparent practices and processes.

    I’ve been having a wander through the Democrats website and found this page on accountability on Senator Andrew Murray’s home page http://www.andrewmurray.org.au/Senate_Responsibilities/Accountability.htm

    It’s worth looking at, there are some very good suggestions there.

  10. Wendy. Woomera. Dear me were would a person start. Maybe with the fact that the tin sheds people lived in are out in the desert and the kangaroos come to the fences to talk to the animals inside.

    Maybe the rotten food with chicken feathers on the chickens, half cooked rice and rotten vegies.

    Maybe if you read the report “A Last Resort” by HREOC you will know about Woomera.

    How about the use of tear gas by guards who are prison guards, they used it on children, babies, men and women without regard. What about the use of batons on kids, or guards punching them in the face? How about the miles of razor wire to keep people who have never been charged with anything at all in.

    What about not being allowed lawyers unless they ask and they can’t ask because they aren’t allowed to. Or how about never having a clue how long you will be there or why you are there.

    Safe you say Wendy. Did you see Deb Whitmont’s 4 Corners program about Woomera? People had their donga doors drilled shut if they dared to complain. Children tried to hang themselves, drank shampoo, drank insecticide and so on.

    Babies played in the dirt without toys. Women gave birth under guard without their husbands, in a country where they don’t speak the language and some were forcibly given caesareans.

    How do I know this you ask? I have read 7,000 pages of reports from Woomera that fell off a truck.

    The senate, HREOC and others have read the reports as well.

    What about the 20 year old Afghan girl thrown to the ground and handcuffed before being taken off to isolation for daring to suggest her 20 month old niece didn’t have weapons in her nappy and refused to have her searched? Or the 9 year old girl separated from her whole family for taking food to her baby brothers? Or the mums denied milk for their babies?

    The UN special rappateour said Woomera was the worst prison he had ever seen in 40 years of inspecting prisons. It is worse than Guantanamo Bay, worse than the Taliban jails and just as bad as Abu Ghraib.

    Is that bad enough Wendy? And dental care before our oldies? Who on earth told you that rot. I know a young girl who waited so long they had to pull the tooth out – and that was the only care she got in 4.5 years in jail.

    Wendy, Woomera was and is a huge 28 hectare jail surrounding by 25 foot fences. Some people lived there for the life of the place.

    Ask yourself how you would like to be locked up for years without ever being charged with anything only to have DIMA say at the end of many years “oops. we wuz wrong”. Get out. No apology. Nothing.

    Now to the wheat scandals.

    It would seem that Howard’s defence is blown to bits because the UN told him years ago that the prices were inflated and told him to take the price of the kick backs off.

    Bit hard to say now that he didn’t know.

  11. Isn’t Woomera closed?????
    Wasn’t mandatory detention a Labor policy brought in with Bipartisan support?

    Isn’t this… “The UN special rappateour said Woomera was the worst prison he had ever seen in 40 years of inspecting prisons. It is worse than Guantanamo Bay, worse than the Taliban jails and just as bad as Abu Ghraib.” patenty an exaggeration?

    I can’t afford dental Marilyn… I get mine pulled out too. There are many in our society that cannot afford things Marilyn; the homeless, the discarded, the mentally deficient….

  12. Isn’t this… “The UN special rappateour said Woomera was the worst prison he had ever seen in 40 years of inspecting prisons. It is worse than Guantanamo Bay, worse than the Taliban jails and just as bad as Abu Ghraib.” patenty an exaggeration?

    I’d say it’s not so much an exaggeration, as a symptom of total isolation from reality.

    You can’t reason with people who believe things like that. They are living in a world of their own, disconnected from anything outside their own warped fantasies.

  13. The local P&C or Soccer Club behaves no differnetly than governments. Its jsut a microcosm of human behaviour – fortuantely their are some who can rise above this – until of course the day they get into power. For the rest we just hang our heads in shame. As a social refugee is their some country I can escape to with those others on this post so bereft of any positve thing to say about Australia, where we can all flee to and be gvien the royal nirvana treatment.

  14. Ken. You are right…. When I wrote to the P & C asking for assistance and support in having serious allegations against the Department of Education investigated and asking them to help protect my children from being victimised and bullied systemically by adults in the Education system and even sent them evidence to support my allegations they responded with:

    “Although we appreciate your concerns, it is beyond the scope of the P & C”.

    See the problem, dealing with bad behaviour of children and adults is something that does not seem to fall under anybody’s radar. Nobody is actually required to care about who it affects, even it if is children.

    Then we wonder why we are in the state we are in today.

  15. Wendy, : “They get dental”???

    I similarly resent having to pay for a dentist when a quarter of my income goes to the govt through taxation, but I hardly envy prisoners their ‘shelter and dental’! This is what is wrong with people who don’t value freedom – they think life in a prison is a fine prospect! Maybe you’d better demand denatal care from the govt rather than envying those less priveleged than you.

    Back to the wheatboard – the Australian (a bastion of the ‘Right’) today has some very interesting coverage on Howard’s ‘failing defence’.

  16. Reading the lastest on the AWB it is like reading about a group of fools playing about in a James Bond film.

    We didn’t know they were the Iraqis they say – yet the email shows 8 names alongside the label Iraqi Grain board.

    We didn’t know said Downer, but if the ALP had their way Saddam Hussein would still be in power and the corruption would still be happening. Quite Lorg Downer and the AWB might have paid another $300 million into his pockets.

    AWB wanted to coach witnesses – it’s just like the children overboard hearings only Cole has the power to summon and recommend criminal charges.

  17. Reply To Aron Paul. Why should the Gernment pay my dental bills? My point is that they get better tretment here than anywhere else. Ausies are mostly big hearted people. Yes back to the wheat. But Hey we are all entiled to our thoughts. And Aron > Yes they get dental. They get it quicker than an old Tasi lady who waits years for dentures. I just think Charity begins with our own first OK

  18. Marilyn
    Ok which truck did these papers fall off? There are trucks and there are trucks. Umm Its certainly interesting. Somewhere in the middle of these two trucks lies the truth I guess. You see many of these people are not honest about even their own ID.
    Ok lets say for arguments sake your one hundred percent correct about every detail you read. Please then help me to address a bigger problem for all Ausies. NED KELLY WAS A GENTLE MAN.
    We need to protect our familys and our Australian way of life. Here are some facts of results of imagration which I find disturbing. So my question is we get all these people and we treat them wonderfully and make them very welcome here.I wish to make clear I DO NOT agree with treating people cruelly M Ok BUT help me this this one please. Facts on imagration in Australia
    CHINESE INFLUANCE
    Triads are the most crime and powerful group in Australia where they are forcing out old school Maria Groups street by Sts. They make these guys look like gentlman.
    They run heroin into Australia , illegal gambling prosituation immigration fraud etc. As far back as 1988 authoritys estimated there were as many as 3000 members.That numbers has trippled now.They have in the past recruited foot soldiers with Vietnamese crime groups particulaaly in Brisbane to distribute herorin imports.

    LEBANESE
    Not as big as yet in organized crime but the most visious of all ethnc gangs.
    Sydney`s middle eastern criminals are considered the most violent and ruthless and of greater concern to police than any other gang.
    One of the newest ethnic gangs to emerge in Australia, the Lebanese are the strongest in Sydney who want to move into the Gold Coast.
    The Groups infiltration of Australia goes back 30 Years to win the Frazer Government made what it called the Lebanese concession. – A refugee policy
    that allowed into Australia about 16.000 people, mostly Muslims, after Lebanon`s civil war.
    The Cronulla Riots last year were sparked by racial hatred between the Middle Eastern gangs and Australians.
    VITNAMESE previously worked with the stronger CHinese Gangs but are now increasingly in competition with them. The Vitnamese gangs are a growing threat in the south eastern corner of Queensland. They have taken over whole streets and large areas of Logan and Inala in Brisbane.
    The gangs are heavily armed they are not as violent as others, but can still be vicious. They have taken control of Dara in Brisbane. The gang is prominent in the distribution of pure Heroin, extortion.

    JAPANESE
    The quiet achiever of organized crimes in Australia. The Gold Coast has long been their favourite spot for the Japanese Mafia.

    RUSSIANS
    The Russians are the most powerful gangs in the world. Gangs and families tend to live together.
    Queensland Police formed a taskforce to control gangs. These members living in our beautiful country often armed with guns and knives.
    Marilyn remember they are all people that the do-gooders fought for their rights just like you with a big naive heart to allow into Australia.

    PACIFIC ISLANDERS
    There is a high population of New Zealanders and other Pacific Islanders in Australia. Youth gangs have formed all over.
    Pacific Islander Gangs weere involved in racial attack along side the Lebanese. Eyewitnesses and residence blamed them alongside Lebanese being behind the violent attack at the Cronulla riots where more than 60 cars were trashed.
    Others in this gang are responsible for armed robberies in NSW. On the Gold Coast their involvement has been traced back to the street rampage that rocked Palm Beach last month.
    These is just some of the problems we have as the direct result from immigration and arrivals of ethnic people into our country.

    EMERGING THREATS

    Incoming refugees bring in the potential for new crime gangs.
    EACH new Ethnic group brings with it the grudges
    of generations groups have emerged as a potential threat.
    Slovanians, Croations, Macedonians, Bosnians,and refugees from Herzogian have made new homes in Australia. Eastern European Mafia groups – crime gangsthat originated in Russia and Ukraine have spread migrate and formed groups. Koreans gangs
    are believed to run standover and protection rackets in Sydney restaurants, prostitution, loan sharking.
    A frightening arsenal of weapons has been recovered from these gangs, who not only fought among themselves but threatened and robbed shoppers
    and our Aussie brothers and sisters.
    One could argue Marilyn oh but they are Australians too.
    Yes a terrifying thought! We brought them here, we supported them, we even bred them.

    We even gave them equal rights Marilyn.
    The immigration of refugees we have taken with our big hearts (and admire your big heart Marilyn) have come back to bite us on the bumb. These gangs so well organised they can strike and disappear before a report can be made.
    Marilyn if you can tell me people like yourself
    who have wonderful compassion for others are prepared to support a bill for the extradition.

    If any of these refugees and immigrants break our laws myself and I believe many Australians will get behind you and be far more sympathetic to the cries of help for these people.
    For the record Marilyn I personally do a great deal working with Muslim Leaders and others.
    I have close personal friendships with many ethnic leaders and people and infact several are my business partners. see
    http://www.halakindmeats.com. However what Aussies want is a fair go and they are taking over our Country and our rights and any true blue Aussie is going to get his or her nose out of joint when many of this lot start screaming equal rights.
    Speaking of sorting the wheat ferom the chaff they make Ned Kelly look like a Gentleman. As far as the AWB enquiry is concerned I sometimes feel like grabbing hold of a Lawyer and going down to Magaret Street and saying the Government are liers
    because I personally contacted them with concerns three Years ago. I just feel the live exports of animals from Australia in our Nations greatest Shame and our Islamic Groups and Leaders agree with me.Speaking of sorting The Wheat from the Chaff there are some beatuful Muslims and imagrants. We hjust need to P the reast off. If you give a case where you have proof of mistreatment in these camps[unprovoked MArilyn i will go there with you personally.Thats an undertaking. You Ok but we need to get a balance. I am disaapointed you did not contact me about the Indigenous programe . We need people like you because i have to do the Live Exports. We all have our thing in life. Sorry if i bored you John

  19. here,s a thought .
    take a close look at what the u.s. has interest,s in australia.i.e christmas island detention centre.
    dam close to indo if you ask me.” lots of oil there”.you mite also ask the nationality of the ” man ” in control of the money for that project
    working from canberra.
    about the wheat scandal.what did you expect.we have been sold out before by this govt.dam good for the american wheat sales.mmmmm interesting.

  20. http://www.theage.com.au/news/opinion/awbs-problems-are-farreaching-and-not-uncommon/2006/02/15/1139890803072.html

    excerpts…
    “AWB’s problems are not uncommon, which indicates that the central concerns reach beyond the company itself.

    First, the company is a former government-run entity and was only corporatised in 1999. Having been established 60 years earlier as a statutory authority, AWB appears to have over-compensated.

    This over-compensation is informed by the organisational history of AWB, which has evolved through a time when bribes and kickbacks in overseas trade were de rigueur. It was not until the late 1970s that anti-bribery laws were passed in Australia.”

    “There is a debate now, led by former diplomat Bruce Haigh, that the whole AWB investigation is irrelevant, as this is just how business is done.”

  21. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,18171417%255E31501,00.html

    excerpts…

    “When foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd suggested, without producing marked banknotes or electronic transfer records, that AWB kickbacks might have paid for pensions for suicide bombers’ families – of whom Saddam Hussein was a generous patron – he took a fancy dive into the misty depths of speculation. ”

    “Few Australians are unaware that, in many countries, no business can be done without pay-offs. As Peter Lee observes in this week’s Farm Weekly: “Australians generally make purchases at the asking price and treat tipping as some crazy foreign habit. But much of the world accepts tips as a natural part of commerce.”

    “When the Australian Wheat Board was a tightly corseted government instrumentality, it on-sold our crop through international grain brokers and the price it got was debited for “market development” expenses. Their brokers spared the semi-official wheat board excessive detail of some aspects of how they developed markets. “

  22. Geoff by the way i was not blustering you. I of course did contact the Cole Enquiry. Are you reaklly so naive you beleive that they would want a member of the public to tesify that they warned the Government three years pluss ago. For goodness sake its clear they have steared the enquiry away from that type of evidence. Terms of reference Geoff. What term of reference do you think that comes under? I didnt track it through bloody wheat either.

  23. M i notice you have not bothered to reply to post 21. These are facts. Why should we keep taking this type of person in Australia. True its the Governments fault yes. However the way you go on one would think that all these people are just nice ladies and gents. Also the guys who wanted to search inside the nappy have probably had something like experenice to go by.

  24. The government has already expanded the terms of reference Wendy, I note Cole said today that anyone who has evidence of any kind should step forward and present it NOW.

  25. re post no 4.
    get a grip marilyn . go and have a look where the latest arivals are living on christmas island.
    then tell me they are hard done by.then acually go to the trouble of finding out what they are given to start life here.it,s worth the effort for them. i think you read too mutch . go have a look for yourself.

  26. I second That Red Crab. We are very kind but we cant give visas and protection to people without papers. Its takes forever because many lie about where they come from. All why we tax payers pay the bills but the good do ers just keep on complaining.I have muslim friends and Biz partners wo agree we can not afford to keep doing this. I tried to tell M before about the treament and the extra help they get but she insists every body is treated very badly who come here. What she fails to get it is we are talking about people who come here unlawfully. I am sure they get more than we would if we rocked up to their countries.

  27. re wendy 29
    i dont know about wooomera but i do know about christmas island .I know they are not illtreated there.As far as i know most ppl who come here are accepted in a very short time.the govt is telling the ppl one thing and doing the other.
    I never trust leaked doc.s as they are always leaked for a political reason.

  28. Once we were at war against Iraq (19 March, 2003)
    any aiding and abetting the enemy via kickbacks is no less than treason.
    I do not believe that Howard, Vaile, Downer, who was so flippant in front of the Cole Inquiry, and other members of cabinet and their clever dick advisors did not know!

  29. Stan it transpires they were still doing it until last year, just before the Volker report was handed in.

    What a pack of unconscionable grubs and crooks they are. Stealing from the starving to give to the rich is revolting.

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