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Helen Clark Makes Major Mistake in Australia

Helen Clark Makes Major Mistake in Australia

Tuesday 18 Feb 2003 Ken Shirley Press Releases -- Foreign Affairs & Defence

ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader Ken Shirley today strongly criticised the Prime Minister for involving herself in domestic Australian politics, and for delivering a frightening message that New Zealand does not stand alongside our traditional allies.

"This morning in Melbourne Helen Clark delivered a speech to an international meeting of trade unionists in which she warned that war in Iraq could provide increased stimulus for terrorist attacks.

"Ignoring the Prime Minister's dubious decision to front up to an Australian union meeting instead of being in New Zealand, it was extremely short-sighted of her to completely contradict the line that Australian Prime Minister John Howard is taking.

"Every major Australian newspaper today shows debate is ongoing between Queensland Premier Peter Beattie and Australian Prime Minister John Howard about whether war on Iraq would increase the risk of terrorism. Peter Beattie says it would, the Australian Government argues convincingly that the risk would not be reduced by a more dovish approach.

"It was inappropriate for our Prime Minister to choose this subject to speak about today, and it was especially foolish when she has taken the opposite line to that of John Howard and the Australian Government.

"It is clear to most observers and our traditional allies that the real "stimulus" for terrorists is the existence of rogue states such as Iraq and North Korea, which have consistently flouted resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and the provisions of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

"Helen Clark has today made a deliberate and provocative attack on John Howard's Government, and on the Coalition of the Willing. Her speech may have won her plaudits from her strident union audience, but it is sure to harm New Zealand's international standing with our traditional allies," Mr Shirley said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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