So the ATO says the millions of dollars AWB funnelled to Saddam Hussein’s regime in the lead-up to the Iraq war were not bribes and can therefore be claimed as a tax deduction. There’s that spot of bother dealt with, but the AWB continues to be a problem.

Nationals diehards don’t want to see the single desk go. So perhaps the PM might like to adopt the same approach he’s taken to a similar problem. Why not handle AWB the way he’s handled David Hicks?

The US Department of Agriculture has announced the immediate suspension of AWB Limited and its affiliates because sufficient evidence exists to suspect they bribed Saddam’s regime. It is also proposing to ban the company from participating in US Government programs and contracting with the US Government.

“We have a duty to protect the public interest by ensuring the firms and individuals with whom we do business abide by the law,” US Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has said in a statement. “We have taken this immediate step based on evidence of illicit activities and, in some cases, evidence of attempts to conceal those activities.”

It might be handy for the PM to follow the David Hicks principle and let the US have jurisdiction of the bribery matter?

Peter Fray

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