Aug 30, 2012

Has Tony Abbott misled the Parliament?

I have written to the Speaker asking him whether the Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott misled Parliament over the Olympic Dam expansion project.

In his personal explanation to the House on Thursday 23 August, Mr Abbott claimed that he had read BHP Billiton’s media statement about the project before he went on ABC1’s 7.30 program.  He told the House:

“Several times the Prime Minister in question time today claimed that I had not read the BHP statement issued yesterday.  This is false.”

Anyone who has seen the interview or read the transcript would recognise this could not be further from the truth. The facts are:

FACT 1:  Two minutes and 40 seconds into the interview, Mr Abbott was asked, “Have you actually read BHP’s statements?”

He said, “No”.

FACT 2:  Mr Abbott was then asked two more direct questions which mentioned that he had not read BHP’s statement.

Each time, he failed to say that he had read it even when the question was directly put to him:

But hang on, no, no, you haven’t read their statements today, but you’re commenting about what they’ve announced today and how the Federal Government’s to blame for that.”

FACT 3:  Mr Abbott did not argue that he had read the statement at any point in the remaining 10 minutes of the interview.

Mr Abbott’s comments on the 7.30 program and his statement to the Parliament the next day cannot both be true.

He has either misled the 7.30 program or misled the House.

Just like the rest of his baseless, aggressive, negative scare campaign about the carbon price, Mr Abbott has been running away from the truth.

Tony Abbott does not want to hear the truth, see the truth or tell the truth.