Have a
dekko at the Senate Notice Paper from last Wednesday. A very
interesting series of Questions on Notice from Tasmanian Labor Senator Kerry
O’Brien have been lodged over wheat deals with Iraq.

They ask
about the 2002 episode when Iraq refused to allow the unloading of
Australian grain – when and how the relevant ministers were informed. They also
ask about the source of this advice.

They ask, “When in
2002 did the Minister and/or his office and/or the department communicate with
a representative of AWB Limited about the Iraqi Administration’s threat to
reduce the volume of Australian wheat it would buy due to Australia’s alliance
with the United States of America, and, in each case, who initiated the
communication, in what form was the communication made and who were the parties
to the communication?”

There’s some nice detail there, too: “If the form of communication was a
face-to-face meeting: (a) who attended and in what capacity did they attend;
(b) where was the meeting conducted; and (c) if officers from the department
did not attend and/or official minutes of the meeting were not recorded, why

There are other questions on the repayment of a quality rebate under a
contract associated with the United Nations Oil for Food Programme;
communications with “(a) Tigris Petroleum or a representative; and/or (b) BHP Billiton
or a representative” and more about Iraq’s decision to continue wheat purchases
from Australia “despite Australia’s alliance with the United States” – requests
for detailed information on the discussions and procedures followed at relevant

Finally, there’s requests for information on Darryl Hockey, “an employee
of AWB Limited” – and a former John Anderson and state Liberal staffer.

Trawling for big fish, obviously.