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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has reportedly corrected comments made in Question Time on Monday and apologised to Kevin Rudd for saying incorrectly that the former PM may have been involved in the cold-blooded torture and murder of eight different hitchhikers on the NSW Hume Highway between 1989 and 1993.
Mr Rudd issued a statement Monday afternoon stating that Mr Morrison’s comment to the House of Representatives was “an utter falsehood”.
The Belanglo State Forest Backpacker Murders were a spate of serial killings that took place in the Southern Highlands of NSW between 1989 and 1993.
The bodies of seven missing young people aged 19 to 22 were discovered partially buried in the Belanglo State Forest, 15 kilometres south-west of the New South Wales town of Berrima.
Five of the victims were foreign backpackers (three German, two British) and two were Australian travellers from Melbourne.
Eventually, a deranged loner by the name of Ivan Milat was convicted of the murders on 27 July 1996 and was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences, as well as 18 years without parole. He died in prison on 27 October 2019, having never confessed to the murders of which he was convicted.
Police maintain that Milat could have been involved in more attacks or murders than the seven for which he was convicted, and many gave weight to the possibility of a of an accomplice. The murder cases were kept open for this reason.
On 18 July 2005, Milat’s former lawyer, the controversial John Marsden AM, made a deathbed statement in which he claimed that Milat had been assisted in the killings of the two British backpackers.
Yesterday, while speaking in the House Of Representatives, Prime Minister Morrison implied that perhaps Kevin Rudd was the second gunman in Belanglo State Forest.
It is not yet known why Morrison would want to smear his predecessor with such blatantly untrue accusations, but many believe it might be because he, alongside the entire Murdoch newspaper empire, believe Kevin Rudd’s petition calling for a Royal Commission into Australian media ownership could hinder the Coalition’s chances of ever getting elected again.
In his statement, Mr Rudd said he had not left the country since March. He demanded a retraction and apology from the Prime Minister, who he said “misled the parliament”.
“I have never met Ivan Milat and never been to Berrima. Between 1989-1993, I was Chief of Staff to the Opposition Leader in Queensland, Wayne Goss.” wrote Kevin Rudd.
“If the Morrison Government remembers correctly, we were the ones that ousted Sir Joh.”
“So, you could argue… At that time, I was actually the enemy of deranged second-generation Europeans who loved guns”
MORE TO COME.