Tuesday, 1 May 2007

From the archives (a letter to the editor published in the Sydney Morning Herald July 6, 2006)

In celebration of the launch tonight of Caroline Overington's book Kickback: Inside the Australian Wheat Board Scandal (Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin, 2007), I thought it might be fitting to revisit the letter that gave us the title for our current theatre project on the same topic, Deeply offensive and utterly untrue (to open Carriage Works, Sydney August 24, 2007). Enjoy!

Trade and war

Your editorial suggesting the Australian Government went to war in Iraq to protect its wheat market is deeply offensive and utterly untrue ("Trade's cannon fodder", July 5).

Your readers would know this if your newspaper had bothered to report my repudiation of these claims in my comments to the media in Melbourne on Monday. This Government does not make military deployments contingent on trading interests, in Iraq or elsewhere. What we did seek were assurances that, after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime, the Iraqi wheat market would be open for free and fair competition, including for Australian wheat growers. This is what has happened, and we have been satisfied with that outcome.

Alexander Downer, Canberra

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