The Howard government fights global terror in one breath and provides funds to dictators on the other:
[Foreign Minister] Alexander Downer has been forced to concede he did precisely nothing to prevent Australian companies funnelling money to Saddam Hussein’s regime in the years leading up to the Iraq war.
The Foreign Minister admitted he had not established any mechanism for ensuring that Australia’s rogue wheat trader, AWB, was not breaching UN sanctions in its dealings with Iraq.
His evidence to the Cole inquiry also directly contradicts a statement he made to parliament on February 28, when he said of several key cables: “Of course I would have read them.”
Downer’s excuses are both inadequate and negligent, argues an international law expert. More disturbingly, the government believes it doesn’t need to take responsibility for the largest bribery scandal in Australian history.