Who’s the political lobbyist and fixer for Woodside associated with the Iraq
trade push who, some are speculating in Parliament House today, would have
known everything about the Ross Lightfoot Woodside “donation”? None other than Gary Gray, former ALP National Secretary and son-in-law of former Labor finance minister, Senator Peter Walsh.

Lightfoot
has aligned himself with the Woodside cause for some time. He has
publicly backed the company in previous overseas takeover battles, and
reportedly only sold his shares on Tuesday when News Ltd set its
reporters on to
him to sniff out the story. Woodside has backed away at a million miles
an hour
today from any association with Lightfoot and his Indiana Jones-style
escapade – despite his graphic descriptions of their involvement in
today’s News Ltd
papers.

And no wonder Lightfoot’s theatrical performance on AM this morning was hysterical, in both senses of the word. The fallout from
today’s story raises many questions, not least of which is whether
Lightfoot was acting alone – or who else was involved? Exactly how many trips
has he made to Iraq – and how much taxpayer’s money was involved? He’s
admitting to two, but were there more?

Woodside and the Australian Wheat Board have been involved in all sorts of
interesting “trade” deals in Iraq – much of which has yet to see the light of
day. Labor and the minor parties should be pressing this broader issue hard
today. The Lightfoot affair should be the key to a much wider inquiry – by the
Senate, if necessary, and certainly before 1 July.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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