19 March 2007

After his visit to Japan, Afghanistan and Iraq, the Prime Minister said that his main focus this election will be on keeping Australian troops in Iraq.

Asked for his thoughts on what impact the recent share scandal will have on the Coalition, Howard said that the mistakes and subsequent resignations of MPs, Ian Campbell and Santo Santoro, will do short term damage to the Government.

“In the long run, the public will make an assessment of how well we have governed for the country and how well the country has done over the last 11 years,” he said.

Labor has been making the most of the scandal. According to Deputy Opposition Leader Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister has grown tired and lost the grip he once had on his ministers.

She claimed over the weekend that that Senator Amanda Vanstone spent at least $31,000 (and possibly over $75,000) of taxpayer’s money on private Chinese language lessons, when she was the minister for immigration.

Denying that she had regular private language lessons, Vanstone accused Gillard of “mischief making.”

Only on occasion had she required assistance with Mandarin, Vanstone said. And that was for the preparation of four speeches. She recalled the total cost to be in the vicinity of $6000 over a 12-month period.

On recently revising the cost, however, Vanstone admitted to spending at least $31,000 but rejected Gillard’s claim that she spent over $75,000. It is “hogwash,” she said.

According to Vanstone if she’d spent that much she would be able to speak fluent Chinese by now.


tony said...

At least one person in the Liberal party has a touch of wry humour. RE (mandarin expenses): "it's for helping with drafting, getting a draft right and helping with a little bit of the delivery so that you don't call someone a filthy cow." just maybe that's some kind of indirect reference to Gillard?

wildboy said...

Gillard, "a filthy cow?" Vanstone rocks!