inquiry finds pm misled public on children overboa

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    From ABC News


    Inquiry finds PM misled public on children overboard
    A Senate inquiry has backed an allegation that the Prime Minister was told days before the 2001 election that there was no evidence to support claims that asylum seekers had thrown their children into the sea.

    Former ministerial adviser Mike Scrafton says he passed on the information during several phone calls to John Howard three days before the 2001 poll.

    Mr Howard denied the allegation when it was first raised in August.

    Labor Senator and inquiry chairwoman Jacinta Collins says a majority of the committee believes Mr Scrafton's version of events.

    "The committee finds Mr Scrafton's claim that he told the Prime Minister on November 7 2001 there was no evidence to substantiate the children overboard story is credible," she said.

    "His claim is credible. The clear implication of his evidence is that the Prime Minister misled the Australian public in the lead-up to the 2001 election."

    Government senators, who were in the minority on the committee, have rejected the findings.

    Liberal Senator George Brandis says the inquiry has been a "kangaroo court".

    "Anybody who thinks that either the children overboard inquiry or the Scrafton inquiry was some attempt at an objective, neutral, forensic canvassing of evidence is deluding themselves," he said.

    Labor Senator and committee member John Faulkner says people now know more about the "deceit" of the Howard Government.

    "We know now conclusively that the Prime Minister knew that the children overboard claims were false when he misled the Australian people at the National Press Club just two days before the 2001 poll," he said.

 
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