Posted Thursday, August 10, 2000

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ARACTION REPORT comments: Joseph Gutnick is a multi-millionaire Orthodox Jewish businessman, close to the disgraced former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is common knowledge in Australia's Liberal Party that Gutnick "donations" eased the way for the government ban on David Irving paying a further visit to Australia. These tax deductible "donations" were made to both the Liberal and Labour parties. It now turns out that Gutnick also tried to buy influence over the Konrad Kalejs affair. His problems began when a journalist lodged a "freedom of information" enquiry while researching the story and the facts leaked out. Gutnick is now busy trying to sell himself as a persecuted victim.

Melbourne, August 10, 2000

Angered Gutnick may sue Howard


MELBOURNE Football Club president and prominent Jewish business leader Joseph Gutnick may sue John Howard after the Prime Minister said government policy could not be dictated by the level of political donations.

kalejsMr Gutnick has been privately lobbying Mr Howard to change Australia's citizenship laws to revoke the citizenship of alleged Nazi war criminal Konrad Kalejs (right) and deport him to his homeland of Latvia.

Mr Howard has refused, saying he would not overturn the rule of law that citizens were entitled to the presumption of innocence.

ABC radio yesterday reported that Mr Gutnick had threatened to withhold financial support for the Liberals over the issue and when asked on ABC radio if he could "do without Mr Gutnick's money", Mr Howard said he did not have the "faintest idea" whether Mr Gutnick contributed.

"I don't change policy according to the level of financial contributions from anybody, whether it's Mr Gutnick or whoever," Mr Howard said.

"In the end you do what is right irrespective of the level of financial support that your political party receives."

Mr Gutnick said he was angered by Mr Howard's comments, he believed Mr Howard knew that donations had never been mentioned in his letters lobbying Mr Howard on the issue and he was seeking legal advice.

"I haven't brought up the issue of money. I don't support the Liberal Party, I have no intention of supporting the Liberal Party and this has absolutely nothing to do with giving money," Mr Gutnick told The Age.

"I will be speaking to my lawyers. I think this is defamatory and libelous. I'm quite angered at it and it's sidetracking the issue. I expect him to apologise for those comments. I expect a retraction."

A spokesman for Mr Howard said the Prime Minister was stating a general principle that government policy was not influenced by donations. The spokesman said Mr Gutnick had last night contacted Mr Howard's office about the matter.

Mr Gutnick said he switched his political donations from the Liberals to Labor before the 1998 federal election because of his disappointment at Mr Howard's response to Pauline Hanson's One Nation party.

Mr Gutnick said Mr Howard's decision last week to change the Sex Discrimination Act to give the states power to deny IVF treatment to lesbians, showed he could also change the citizenship laws.

Mr Kalejs, 87, who is believed to be in Melbourne, has denied being involved in the murder of civilians during World War II.

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