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Halt AWB inquiry and broaden terms of reference

Halt AWB inquiry and broaden terms of reference

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert today called for a temporary suspension of the AWB inquiry.

"It is clear, after only a few days of testimony, this inquiry needs a much broader scope if it is to answer all the questions that have been raised."

"In light of what has already been exposed it is quite obvious that the 'wheatgate' scandal goes far beyond the current terms of reference," said Senator Siewert.

"The Prime Minister needs to draft new, broader, terms of reference."

Senator Siewert stressed that it was important the inquiry heard from a much wider range of people, including Ministers, their staff and others to get to the bottom of this scandal.

"For example, we need to know what role, if any, the intelligence services have played. We know that the Government was notified as early as 2000 about Australian payments to Saddam Hussein's regime, but we have heard nothing about how those links were investigated by the Office of National Assessments or by other intelligence agencies."

If the Government do not act to broaden the terms of the inquiry,

Senator Siewert has indicated the Greens will introduce a private members bill to establish a Royal Commission as soon as the Senate resumes.

"Lets be clear about this. Not only are we talking about an Australian company standing accused of the largest fraud of the UN oil for food program, but we are talking about the beneficiary of that fraud, Saddam Hussein," she said.

"If the Government has nothing to hide then it has nothing to fear."

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