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NEWS: Australian senator embroiled in Iraqi "cash for oil" scandal

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posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 06:54 PM
A storm is brewing in the normally calm halls of Canberra, as the outspoken Senator Ross Lightfoot continues to defend allegations that he smuggled $20,000 US into Iraq on behalf of oil giant, Woodside Petroleum. The Western Australian Senator seemingly contradicted himself today saying that he had nothing to do with the donation. This was at odds with statements he made to radio yesterday.
Holes were emerging in senator Ross Lightfoot's defence against allegations he smuggled cash into Iraq, opposition foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd said today. The WA senator has vowed he will not resign over claims he smuggled $US20,000 ($25,000) into Iraq to help Kurds on behalf of oil giant Woodside.

But Human Services Minister Joe Hockey backed his Liberal colleague. "Ross Lightfoot as a senator has made a statement to parliament and that's a higher authority than a newspaper and we have to rely on it," Mr Hockey told Seven.

Labor's leader in the Senate, Chris Evans, said the government needed to consider whether Senator Lightfoot was an appropriate person to represent Australians in parliament. "They have to explain what went on, why they are satisfied with this story and what they're going to do about it," he told ABC radio.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Just some clarification first, the Liberal Party in Australia is the centre-right government currently in office, led by PM John Howard. Labour is the centre-left party now led by former defense minister Kim Beazley.

The allegations centered on the fact that Senator Lightfoot was suppose to be in Iraq to observe the elections on a tax-payer funded trip, instead it appears that he was there instead to hand out money to the kurds on behalf of Woodside. Senator Lightfoot claims that the money was to re-build a hospital.

Further more, claims were made that he took a pistol and an AK-47 into the region (he was photographed with the AK standing next to Iraqis). Ross has always being controversial, he was once quoted as saying that Aborigines in their native state were the "bottom colour of the civilisation spectrum". He also supports Western Australia seceding from the Commonwealth of Australia. It seems like the fourth term of the Howard government will be interesting to say the least.

Related News Links:

[edit on 17-3-2005 by rapier28]

posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 03:05 AM
Just breaking;

The Kurdish representative to Australia has backed the latest version of Senator Lightfoot's story which is that the money was not brought into Iraq but was rather raised in Iraq.

Kurds back Lightfoot

However, Senator Lightfoot's story has already changed several times since the scandal broke yesterday.

Senator's link to oil giant Woodside

Senator Lightfoot is a bit of an enigma in Australia, his more like an US senator who has specific lobby groups, namely oil interests.

This is a picture showing Senator Lightfoot in Iraq with an Ak-47, he is the one in red. He is surrounded by Kurds.

I don't know about you but i get nervous when my senator starts to run around Iraq with an AK-47.

[edit on 18-3-2005 by rapier28]

posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 03:49 AM
Covered here,'

[edit on 18-3-2005 by sanctum]


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