AWB Wheat Scandal (protest song)

A song about the bribes paid by the Australian Wheat Board (AWB) and BHP to Saddam Hussein’s regime, while the Australian government was preparing to invade Iraq.

 

WHEAT SCANDAL

 

Another scandal has erupted

The Cole Inquiry is in the news

We’ve heard the wheat trade is corrupt

And we’re finding out who knew

 

The companies in question

Giants in their trade

The Big Ones playing big bribes

The secret deals were made

 

They knew about the kickbacks

That we know is true

The bribes were paid and the deals were made

As talk of war grew too

 

They said “I know nothing”

But we know what they said wasn’t true

We know that they knew ’cause it’s all in the news

But did they know that we knew, too?

 

The Wheat Board had a single desk

It was called Monopoly

The boardmen played the board game

And they paid the banker too

 

Then BHP saw profits In a country between wars

The UN had it’s oil for food

And passed out many laws

 

Then the people of the world cried “foul!”

And they said the children starved and died

The regime they attacked in words

Was also paid in bribes

A ‘humanitarian gesture’, paid with interest

Mr Cole called it a ‘soft bribe’

But the men who paid it were hard as stone:

Cowboys in the Third World

With plenty cash and guns

Cowboys in the Third World

If you see them, you better run

 

They knew about the kickbacks

That we know is true

The bribes were paid and the deals were made

While talk of war grew too

 

They said “I know nothing”

But we know what they said wasn’t true

We know that they knew ’cause it’s all in the news

But did they know that we knew that they knew too?

 

Their pictures on the TV

The cowboys aren’t ashamed

They pose for the cameras

And then try to share the blame

How high does it go?

Is it right to the top?

Do the roots of corruption

Hold big business to the ground?

 

They knew about the kickbacks

That we know is true

We know that they knew ’cause it’s all in the news

But did they know that we knew that they knew too?

 

(words and music by Romesh Senewiratne-Alagaratnam Arya Chakravarti)

Guitar, harmonica and vocals by Romesh

 

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