Media coverage of the Lightfoot affair has concentrated on the swashbuckling
side. The money aspects are more serious.

Lightfoot may have not known about the $US20,000 donation from Woodside, but
decided that it made a good yarn. That doesn’t stop questions being asked about
his involvement with Woodside, the company’s own activities, the role of the
Hydrocarbon Research Facility at Curtin University, whether currency laws were
obeyed, and finally, whether Lightfoot followed the provisions of the Senate’s
registrar of interests.

However, there’s an even more significant angle that’s being ignored –
Lightfoot and Kurdistan. Have another look at ABC Radio from Thursday here: “The World Today does not know when the Senator and the Australian Kurdistan Regional
Government’s representative began their relationship. But in November last year
Senator Lightfoot surprised many by declaring his support for an independent
Kurdish state…”

That was on PM. He said straight out: “I’m in support of an independent state for Kurdistan,
which operates significantly as an independent state now.”

Lightfoot’s travelling companion, Simko Halmet, is a representative of the
Kurdistan Regional Government. According to their website, the “KRG’s mission is to give the Kurds what they have longed and fought for:
a government by the people of Iraqi Kurdistan and for the people of Iraqi
Kurdistan.”

Turkey has threatened to invade northern Iraq if an independent state of
Kurdistan is established. It’s a very sensitive issue. The Americans want to
avoid an independent Kurdistan because of the potential of greater strife in
what remains a war zone. Australia is following their line. Money sewn into
jackets and guns is a domestic embarrassment for the Government. Unilateral
policy making on an unstable region by a maverick Senator is a recipe for
international strife.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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