House Hansard


Schapelle Corby
FLASH BACK - 31st June 2005

RUDD, the Hon. Kevin Michael
Member for Griffith (Qld) Australian Labor Party
Prime Minister from 3.12.07

Q: Mr RUDD (Griffith) (3:05 PM) - My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I refer to his statement of 7 March 2005 following his meeting with Ms Schapelle Corby's defence team, where he stated:

Of course it' s a situation where the defence wants to try and get as much information as they can from the airlines and from customs and so on. Obviously, we' re happy to try to get as much information as well, that is possible to obtain.

Minister, I refer to media reports today that in September 2004 Customs concluded an investigation which reportedly uncovered incidences where baggage handlers at Sydney airport had been involved in drugsmuggling operations. Minister, did this report contain any information relevant to the Corby defence team and, if so, was this information provided to them?

Hon. Alexander John Downer

Minister for Foreign Affairs from 11.3.96 to 3.12.07

A: Mr DOWNER (Mayo) (Minister for Foreign Affairs) - As I understand it, Ms Corby was arrested in October 2004. I think I am right in saying that. So the report, you are telling me, was produced during the year but earlier than that. It was an internal report of the Australian Customs Service. So if you are trying to make a party political point here, which I suspect you might be, which is a little disappointing- 

Opposition members interjecting- 

A: Mr DOWNER - Of course it is outrageous, isn' t it, to even mention that you are trying to. It is perfectly obvious you are trying to.

The SPEAKER - Order! The minister will desist from using the word  you' .

A: Mr DOWNER - The point I would make is exactly that of the Deputy Prime Minister: this was an internal working document of the Australian Customs Service. None of you saw it, nor did I and nor did the Deputy Prime Minister.

Opposition members interjecting

A: Mr DOWNER - Now, now- stop shouting! It relates to information which I understand was collected in September, October, November- that sort of time frame- in 2003. I understand Ms Corby was arrested in October 2004. Cheap party politics, mate!