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PRIME Minister John Howard should use his workplace relations reforms to sack ministers embroiled in the AWB kickbacks scandal, Opposition Leader Kim Beazley said today. Mr Beazley today backed his call for the sacking of Trade Minister Mark Vaile and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer with a government document approving the export of a consignment of wheat to Iraq. Signed by a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade delegate in December 2002, the document, which has been forwarded to the inquiry, shows approval of the export because it "does not infringe UN Security Council sanctions against Iraq". "We Australians can now be sacked unfairly but you can't even fairly sack John Howard's ministers for their bungling incompetence," Mr Beazley said in Brisbane. Mr Beazley said Mr Howard and his ministers want to convince Australians that the Government acted as a "post box" for the passage of contracts under the United Nations' oil-for-food program. "But that is not the signature (on the document) of somebody with the status of a postman that is the signature of somebody with approval authority," he said of the document. "We do know that the bribes, the dollars, stopped with Saddam Hussein but the buck stopped with the Australian ministers and now those ministers seek to evade responsibility." Mr Beazley said the new industrial relations reforms spelt "one rule for them" and another for ordinary Australians. "If (Mr Vaile) was too dumb to be able to exercise his authority properly or if he was throwing a smokescreen over the real state of his knowledge before the royal commission (Cole inquiry), it doesn't matter, either way, that bloke should go. He's responsible," he said.


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