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Swan should go & maybe but probably not Rudd

It is unclear whether (changed from, ‘likely that’) Kevin Rudd attempted to do a favour for a mate  and lied to parliament about that.  It is certain that Wayne Swan attempted the favour and took personal interest in seeing that the favour worked – Swan should resign and be replaced by Lindsay Tanner who will make a better Treasurer.  The pair are now desparately trying to turn the issue into an attack on the opposition’s credibility.  Swan is trying to deflect attention away from his obvious interest by emphasising the ‘missing email’ issue.

There was almost certainly no email – that’s why Kevin Rudd is being so strong in his denials of it – the Labor Party has long-standing experience in handing out favours to mates and would not leave an evidence trail.  The civil servant probably got a FAX or a phone call. The poor guy will face long-term retribution from the Labor Party hacks installed into the civil service for trying to do his job honestly – my sympathies to him.

But overall the issue is small bikkies. The tens of millions of dollars of squandered Federal funds being directed at sloppily-designed school projects, the poorly-thought-through road projects, the gravy-train like adjustment packages being paid to greenhouse gas polluters are more cogent reasons for sacking this incompetent duo.

Update: The email – it did exist – is now claimed to be false and a sting seems to have been implemented but it is unclear by who.  Much more to come.  The nonexistence of the email, again, being used by Labor to deflect attention from Swan’s clear guilt.

18 comments to Swan should go & maybe but probably not Rudd

  • Rationalist

    Heh, why no call earlier?

  • Uncle Milton

    Harry, I wouldn’t be surprised if the career prospects of the Treasury official in question have taken a turn for the worse, but not for the reasons you think. His real crime was not (sort of) putting the Prime Ministers’s Office in the mire; it was his emotion-laden performance. Treasury men are supposed to be Hard Men, feared everywhere. (Treasury women are also supposed to be Hard Men.) They are not supposed to have emotions, much less show them at Senate Estimates. I fear that Mr Grech will soon be told by his Treasury superiors that his career would be best pursued in one of the soft, caring depsrtments.

  • hc

    Uncle Milton, I think the civil servant was terrified and didn’t want to be there. Nor did he want to lie. He was aware of the big issues here.

  • Uncle Milton

    The strange thing is, he ‘remembers’ an email that almost certainly does not exist.

  • conrad

    Alternatively, if the email really does turn out to be hoax (as you seem to believe), it seems to me that will be the end of Turnbull, unless people want to start believing in guilty until proven innocent coming from the mouths of politicians.

  • Lloyd

    Nice to see where you stand Harry. I think it’s a croc and you seriously need to get a life if you think this is a hanging offence, or else you’re ………..(deleted Laborite vulgarity).

    Other than that you really do need to explain why.

  • MAGB

    Best to concentrate on the facts and ignore journalists’ opinions – David Crowe’s articles in today’s Financial Review and Lenore Taylor’s in Saturday’s Australian make the situation very clear – Swan was deeply involved and should resign.

  • Sir Henry Casingbroke

    That’s right, there is no sanitymail. So why did T-Rex heavy Andrew Charlton, referring to “documentary evidence” allegedly in his possession? According the documentary evidence in his possession was nothing more than a paper clipping from the Daily Telegraph, ah, before the article appeared. Maybe he had an advance copy of the piece. I know that these things can be arranged…

    Anyway, since you posted the head of this thread there have been developments…

    Did T-Rex fall for a sting? What’s Grech’s role in all this and why was the email found by the feds in his place? Did anyone put him up to it?

    This should be referred to the privileges committee and the miscreants brought before the bar of the house. That would be fun.

    The wider issue: yes, Kevin filibustered his way out of answering the question on the 7.30 Report tonight. It is clear that lip service was paid to John Grant’s desire to get on the gumment drip but no moneys actually changed hands. Still, the intent was there, a whiff of corruption.

    But how does that sit in the context of Manildra and John Howard’s bro given special consideration? Money and policy DID change hands here. Can you produce a blog entry Harry in which you condemn JWH for “corruption” and nepotism? Or do I have to call in the Federal Police?

  • hc

    Sir Henry, There is a lot more to be uncovered here but the false email reeks of a sting. Its existence is being used to diffuse the legitimate attack on Swan.

    John Howard’s brother cost me much mollah through my share holding losses in Yates Seeds.

    Eventually Sir Henry we are going to have to stop judging Labor politicians on the basis of unproven claims re John Howard. Swan’s behaviour has been deplorable.

  • Uncle Milton

    Turnbull has exhibited a Latham-like absence of judgement. If he had just gone for Swan he would have got him. This would have been a massive prize. But Turnbull, following the habits of a lifetime, had to have it all and went for Rudd and Swan, the former on the basis of a leaked email, in itself not a robust way to try bring down a Prime Minister. And if the email turns out to be fake …

    The wash up is that Swan is safe, Rudd’s authority has been multiplied five times, and Turnbull’s credibility and standing are destroyed.

    “The poor guy will face long-term retribution from the Labor Party hacks installed into the civil service for trying to do his job honestly”

    If the story in today’s Age is true, Harry, you might want to revise that sentence.

  • hc

    There is a lack of judgment here though the email presumably looked genuine. If it is in fact fake then the question is who engineered the sting. If Grech was involved what are his motives?

    I assumed that in his position Grech had no reason not to be truthful. I assume Turnbull made the same inference.

    Rudd’s statements about Turnbull are as bad as Turnbull’s statements about Rudd.

  • The email is proven to be fake and was reportedly concocted within Treasury.

    Swan has another reason to resign, because he is the Treasurer and the email was from his department that generated the recent Utegate political drama. By the way, the drama did reveal Swan misled the parliament and he should go definitely without any doubt left.

    Besides, was there a conspiracy of some sort here? There are a few questions. First, why and how was the fake email sent to Grech who appeared in the Senate estimates and distressed and said he remembered an email of this sort but said could not find it?

    Second, why was the email purported to be from Rudd’s office?

    Third, why didn’t other more senior Treasury officials who received other emails sent to Swan’s home or office, indicating some sort of special treatment of Grant, point out to Grech that that action or behaviour is inappropriate?

    Fourth, why and how was such a fake email leaked, first to the opposition and then to the media?

    Fifth, why did all these happen to Grech who also worked for Hockey briefly in the past?

    Six, why the first internal IT search within PMC and Treasury did not find any fake email, but the police say that fake email was from Treasury?

    It seems there is a need for Royal Commission inquiry of the whole thing. There should be not only heads roll from politicians, but also from senior bureaucrats such as the Treasury head as John Stone implied, given the role they played in the Utegate affairs.

  • derrida derider

    Anybody who knew how these things are handled in the APS would have known that Grech was either stone crazy or telling porkies at that hearing. Who would get an email direct from the PMO (not via your own minister’s office – that alone is a bit unusual) asking about a personal case and then, rather than immediately respond seeking explicit authority and keeping a full paper trail to cover your back, would delete the bloody thing? It made no sense at all.

    Lincoln, on Six the AFP would have searched the server activity logs, which would clearly identify the trail (including ultimate source) of the email even if it had been subsequently deleted. It’s as hard to eliminate all trace of an email as it is to eliminate all trace of a past web page. But a simple search of Grech’s email account would not have picked it up.

    As for Swan what he did was absolutely the norm in State or local politics, but frowned upon in the federal sphere. Not, IMO, a hanging offence. In any case he won’t now be hanged for it, but no doubt will be a bit more careful in future to make clear when he’s just another MP representing a constituent and when he’s acting with ministerial authority.

  • Uncle Milton

    The idea that this was a sting – presumably designed by evil geniuses in the Labor Party – designed to trap Turnbull is all a bit John LeCarre. Turnbull did this to himself. A cooler head would have checked the veracity of the evidence before calling the Prime Minister a liar and demanding his head on a plate.

    The one remaining question of interest in this saga is most interesting. Why, indeed, did the composer of the fake email do what he did, and why did he leak it to both Steve Lewis and the Opposition? There might well not have been a political motive.

  • Sir Henry Casingbroke

    Like the Sopranos, each episode brings with it fresh entertainment and a new twist. And the humour: Joe Hockey said on Lateline tonight that there was a “short vacancy” in his political unit. Naturally Godwin Grech met the profile.

    Godwin’s a trained economist, right? Circumstances didn’t fit the paradigm, so he made a few adjustments. Was his discomfiture in the senate hearings faked? Did Eric Abetz know the answer to his own question before Godwin blurted it out? Was this a set piece to camera?

    Tony Jones asked Hockey if he was involved in the charade as Grech’s handler. Hockey averred, and did not answer the question. Wise. Who knows what tomorrow may bring.

  • Uncle Milton

    Let me get this straight. The Liberals summon their Deep Throat in Treasury to the Senate to give evidence they are sure will nail the Prime Minister; they are sure because he has already leaked them the evidence. But it turns out that he manufactured the evidence. The result: the case against the PM (never strong) collapses completely; the much stronger case against the Treasurer is lost amongst the fake email noise, the leader’s authority is crippled, perhaps permanently (witness the daily crossings of the floor by dissident opposition members); and the leader and shadow Treasurer are implicated in possible breaches of the Crimes Act and Public Service Act. This gives new meaning to the expression, “hoist by your own petard”.

  • hc

    I am with Uncle Milton on this one. The outcome here is bizarre. If the email was manufactured by a ‘Deep Throat’ then they must have understood that claims made on the basis of the email would result in the email being checked and the manufactured message being eventually discredited.

    There is either at least one irrational person involved here or the whole thing is a Labor Party sting operation. The latter seems far-fetched.

  • Uncle Milton

    Harry, the Liberals were not irrational, if they thought that Godwin was delivering the genuine article. After all this is over I hope they do the right thing and look after him. Turnbull in particular is in a position, and has a moral obligation, to do this.

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