The Australian government resisted calls by the opposition yesterday to follow the example of Britain and the US in setting up or planning an inquiry into the possible misuse of intelligence information to justify sending troops to fight in Iraq. Like British leader Tony Blair, Australian Prime Minister John Howard has consistently said he believes US-led search teams will find evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Saddam Hussein's reported possession of biological and chemical weapons was used by Australia as the key justification for deploying 2,000 military personnel to the Gulf. Mr Howard insisted that the government did not manipulate reports received from Australian intelligence agencies to bolster the case for war. 'I didn't add things in, I didn't pressure them at any time,' he said. But the opposition Labor Party's foreign affairs spokesman, Kevin Rudd, said an independent investigation was needed. 'The question which Mr Howard ... must answer is: If it's good enough for the British and it's good enough for the Americans to investigate their record on these questions, why isn't it good enough for Australia?' Mr Rudd said. 'What [have] Mr Howard and [Foreign Minister Alexander] Downer got to hide if they believe there is no problem with the information they've given to the Australian people?' he asked. Mr Rudd said the government's alleged manipulation of intelligence before the Iraq conflict echoed its misuse of classified information in the so-called 'children overboard affair'. In the lead-up to the federal elections in 2001, the government claimed refugees trying to reach Australia by sea had deliberately thrown their children overboard - a claim later found by an official inquiry to be false. 'I fear that the spirit of children overboard is still alive and well in this government,' Mr Rudd said.