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Attacking Turnbull

The pursuit of Malcolm Turnbull should now cease. It is clear that Godwin Grech – a formerly respected public servant who ran the OzCar policy for Labor – provided a false email to Turnbull that was the basis of Turnbull’s attack on Swan and Rudd and which therefore distorted this attack.  The Labor Party is a perennially corrupt institution that has displayed its corrupt practices in Victoria, NSW, Western Australia and now most recently (again) in Queensland – shocking corruption that even its cheers squads find difficult to defend.  Its former members include bribe-takers, suppliers of juveniles into prostitution  and child-molesters – some are now serving lengthy jail terms and more will undoubtedly follow.   These people are the worst of Australia’s political low-life.  Selfish, greedy and dishonest people who use the pretence of caring for ‘working Australians’ as a cover for self-aggrandisement and their despicable lack of common morality.

Turnbull was  justified, though as it turned out wrong, in assuming the worst about the dummy duo of Swan and Rudd.  He has agreed that he was misled. Labor should cut the continued cry-baby politicking and get on with the business of trying, in its own inept way, to govern.

22 comments to Attacking Turnbull

  • derrida derider

    Oh dear. So after specific allegations he backed have been shown to be utterly false, Harry resorts to fact-free bluster and abuse. I’m afraid it’s not very convincing mate.

    Whatever his sins I do feel sorry for Mr Grech; I wouldn’t wish such a collapse on anyone. He was not well treated by his colleagues and is arguably a victim of Kevin Rudd’s infectious workaholism. But Turnbull has shown a complete lack of judgement throughout – he should have been far more cautious about a man who was patently unstable. A senior public servant who seeks a secret meeting with the Leader of the Opposition and suggests tactics to him is simply not someone a principled and sagacious Leader of the Opposition ought to trust. Bad judgement on this scale should mean Turnbull is disqualified as an aspiring PM.

  • Like a car crash, I find the UteGate affair to be something where I find it difficult to take my eyes from it. But perhaps more interesting is the forged letters affair in the US Congress at the moment. A lobbying firm, Bonner and Associates, has gotten itself into trouble after it was revealed that they had writting fake letters from community organisations to congressmen, urging them to oppose the Waxman-Markey bill.

  • hc

    Derrida, Turnbull has agreed that the claims are false – that isn’t the issue. You claim he exercised poor judgement – then so too did Labor in putting Grech in charge of the $850 million OzCar scheme. You cannot have it both ways.

    The claims of dishonesty and jailings of Labor politicians and associates are matters of public record. Whenever Labor gets into power it goes feral. Branch stacking and other forms of corruption within the ALP are the reason the recent Labor Conference gave the Federal Executive the right to intervene in state branches on preselections.

    Doing favours for mates is an established part of Labor tradition. Graham Richardson wrote a book on the NSW Right that emphasised ‘whatever it takes’ and the imperatives of returning favours. (Richardson & his high-finance mates of course had their own encounters with the law!).

    My claims are backed with facts. It is just as a partisan supporter you refuse to open your eyes. Turnbull was very reasonable in accepting the view that the email was correct. That it turned out he was wrong is not a hanging offence.

  • derrida derider

    Err, Labor didn’t put Mr Grech in charge of OzCar – APS personnel decisions below the rank of Secretary are wholly a matter for the Secretary (in fact the only case I know of where a pollie interfered was in the early years of the Howard government, and it scandalised those who knew about it). So blame Ken Henry.

    It’s ridiculous to cite branch stacking in the NSW Right in the 1980s as “evidence” of a current PM’s dishonesty. By the same token I could claim Turnbull must be corrupt because Askin and Joh were.

    Ask yourself this Harry. What if Grech had sought a secret meeting with Rudd and his hatchet man behind his Secretary’s back in order to provide dirt on Turnbull and had then suggested tactics to Rudd to present the dirt in the most damaging way possible? If Rudd had acquiesced to all this, duly accused Turnbull of corruption and then the dirt had turned out to be wholly invented, would you not be calling for Rudd’s resignation?

    I know who is refusing to open their eyes here, Harry.

  • derrida derider

    Oh, as a PS we should note that Turnbull was a very incompetent Machiavellian. Someone like Howard or Hawke would have carefully kept distance between himself and the presumed mole by leaving all communication to Abetz (or Richo in Hawke’s case).

  • Uncle Milton

    DD is right Harry. Your list of Labor sins is wholly irrelevant to this case. Turnbull has displayed a momumental, Lathamesque, lack of judgement here in accepting Grech at face value. (And that is putting the best on it from Turnbull’s viewpoint.) Turnbull accused the Prime Minister and Treasury of dishonesty, and demanded their resignations. It’s scarcely possible to make more serious allegations. For him (and you) simply to shrug his shoulders, say he acted in good faith, and then further say that everybody should just move on, just doesn’t wash.

    What’s more, if Turnbull is so easily fooled by an unworldly, timid public servant, how would he go in an international negotiation when the national interest is at stake? Unfortunately, Turnbull’s ready-fire-aim personality, while conducive to great success in legal advocacy and investment banking, is not a great recipe for success in politics, let alone government, where mature reflection and judgement are needed. (Howard had these qualities in spades, except in his last term, which explains his rise, rise and fall.)

  • Uncle Milton

    That should be “Prime Minister and Treasurer”.

  • hc

    I don’t agree with these arguments and with the bloodlust that is developing over Turnbull. Turnbull knew Grech who was a respected civil servant and Grech’s actions were totally unpredictable. As Abbott said the idea that a senior Treasury official would fake an email is close to unbelievable.

    An opposition leader can be too risk averse.

    How much ‘mature reflection and judgement’ are we currently getting from Kevin Rudd?

    I don’t think that it is ridiculous to assume that the ALP ‘brovver-hood’ is corrupt. Malcolm Turnbull would not be alone in assuming this. The current events in Queensland say it all. He acted – wrongly – on this presumption and on the info from Grech.

    Not a hanging offense.

  • MikeM


    It is spelt “bruvverhood”.

    Conducting a Google poll on Australian web sites, the query [ALP corruption] finds 49,600 pages; [“liberal party” corruption] finds 37,300; [“national party” corruption -“liberal party”] (to avoid double counting of pages mentioning both, of which there are 12,400) finds 10,200. Leaving aside the 2,400 pages referencing Country Party corruption, we have the the final score:

    Labor: 49,600
    Coalition: 47,500

    … so Labor leads in the corruption claim/allegation/confession stakes – but only by a nose.

    It seems on this basis that Rudd would be almost as justified in suspecting Turnbull to be corrupt as Turnbull would be in suspecting Rudd to be corrupt.

    In point of fact I have never seen evidence that either of them is, despite their association with political parties that have suffered from corruption in the past.

  • melaleuca

    Harry Clarke in June: “It is certain that Wayne Swan attempted the favour and took personal interest in seeing that the favour worked … ”

    You are being unbelievably dishonest, Harry. Obviously it is easier to find more ALP corruption over the past dozen or so years BECAUSE the ALP has governed nearly all of that time in the 8 states and territories whereas the Coalition has only governed at the Federal level.

    The Howard Coalition was riddled with corruption but always chose to ignore it. As an example, the Rural Grants Scheme was corrupt to the core:

    “THE Auditor-General has exposed unprecedented government abuse of a $328 million grants program, undermining the Coalition’s credentials as a careful financial manager nine days before the federal election.

    A damning report shows that a third of the money from the controversial Regional Partnerships Program from 2003 to last year was pumped into just 10 rural Coalition seats”,25197,22767164-601,00.html

    And what about Rotten Johnny bailing out his brother’s worker entitlements with taxpayer money and Jackie Kelly’s racist and fake How to Vote Cards?

    Malcolm Turdbull also corruptly gave a mate a $10 million government grant. Why don’t you criticise this?

    The major parties are equally corrupt and they ought to be condemned by everyone until they do something about it.

  • hc

    Mel, I waited for this but its a false argument. I was arguing that Turnbull had reasonable grounds for assuming something shifty was afoot – helping a bruvver is a great Labor tradition.

    I wasn’t asserting that the Liberals were a bunch of innocents. But, come to mention it, in none of the Liberal issues you mention did people go to jail.

    I appreciate MikeM’s correction of my spelling. Forever the phrase “Bruvver Ducker” referring to the late John Ducker will ring in my ears. I quit the ALP when I realised the true lack of depth in such monsters as John Ducker.

  • Oh well one more biased blog to take off bloglines. A shame. You have some interesting climate change thoughts but please don’t spin right wing fantasies as fact. It does you no credit. Why not gracefully accept Labor has the right to govern federally, hope your friends in the Coalition learn from their mistakes, and provide a decent opposition to ensure in any future terms that Labor get, they are prevented from corruption and malpractice that can occur in any long term government, of any persuasion?

  • Matt C

    Harry, I think Turnbull is being treated a little unfairly. But that’s life. History is written by the victors.

    More interesting now is given this state of affairs, can Turnbull survive. I can’t see him winning now. Questions of judgement will remain, and that is probably fatal for an opposition leader.

    His only saviour might be a lack of alternatives. That might be good for Turnbull but it is pretty worrying for the Liberal Party.

  • Uncle Milton

    Harry, are you seriously suggesting that Turnbull didn’t give Rudd and Swann the benefit of the doubt because of the malfeasance of Queensland state Labor identities? Not even Turnbull himself is saying that. Turnbull bet his and his party’s credibility on what turned out to be a false prospectus. (I assume he had no role in its creation.) Of course he is going to suffer the consequences. But he may survive as leader. It’s just that whenever in the future he makes a serious allegation against the government, he will be met with a horse laugh.

  • hc

    Uncle Milton,

    I am saying Turnbull got it wrong as he himself has said. But I am saying the information he based his wrong judgement on – (i) the history of corrupt dealings and bruvverhood deals by the ALP that dates to its inception but which has been shocking over the last decade and (ii) on the judgements of the previously reputable, Labor-appointed boss of the $850 million OzCar scheme – provide an out for him. What is happing now is, in the main, Labor supporters baying for blood and their obedient servants in the media (Guy Rundle seems about the worst of the hyenas) doing what is expected of them. I refuse to be swept away by the hysteria.

    I don’t agree Matt that history is necessarily written by the victors though it is difficult for conservative oppositions in Australia.

  • Governments of all persuasions engage in dodgy deals. When Labor does it, conservatives like to characterise the corruption as small-time favours for mates and bruvvers. When the Liberals do it, it’s somehow grander, in The National Interest because it involves the Big End of Town – eg media regulations to favour Murdoch and Packer, or bribing a “Terrorist Regime’ to buy the National Party’s wheat, or invading a country on behalf of the US oil industry.

    Harry, stick to your excellent commentary on matters economic and environmental.

  • And thinking some more on the matter, remember the halcyon days of Jeff Kennett in our home state?

    How Kerry Packer had the foresight to change his losing bid for the Crown Casino development to a winning bid in the closing minutes of the tender process? Or the $3 billion in consultant fees paid to Collins Street Liberal mates/supporters/patrons during the big public asset sell-off? But of course, that was in our best interests, wasn’t it? Not petty stuff like looking after car dealers.

    As Woody Guthrie put it, poor folk will rob you with a gun. Rich folk will rob you with a fountain pen. And probably be granted an O of A for services rendered.

  • Uncle Milton

    Harry, it is absurd, as DD has written, to paint Godwin Grech as the “Labor appointed boss” of the OzCar scheme. The Government, let alone the Labor Party itself, doesn’t allocate people at that level to jobs in departments. At Grech’s level, he was probably put in his position not even by the Treasury Secretary but by a Deputy Secretary.

    You are also a bit off the pace in saying that it is only Labor supporters in the media who are going after Turnbull. Dennis Shanahan, a Liberal Party loyalist in the Australian, has been gunning for him all week. Today’s Oz features a story on how the Libs are plotting to replace Turnbull with Andrew Robb. And Turnbull has further damaged himself by turning on the wretched Grech, aand refusing to apologise, something that Eric Abetz, who has a much better political antennae, did yesterday. But this is characteristic of Turnbull – bull at a gate, supremely confident in his omniscience, refusing to take advice, refusing to admit he can be wrong.

    Turnbull is dead meat hanging on the hook, and it is all his own doing, exactly like Mark Latham. All that is left to do is for someone to cut down the carcass.

  • melaleuca


    Turdball corruptly gave $10 million of taxpayers money to a mate. He is corrupt and must resign. (……edited out personal abuse……).

  • badm0f0

    Harry, sorry wanting to pile on late but sometimes your tribalism clouds your judgement (though I admit from personal experience that it can be a hard habit to break).

    The Grech matter was not and is not a simple matter of a senior APS member gone rogue. The interaction between he and the Coalition bordered on actual corruption in and of itself. Many people with senior APS experience would probably be able to tell you better than I that Grech wasn’t innocently leaving a paper trail to dodgy practices, he was using all his years of experience to actively contrive (the impression of) one.

    The Coalition may not have been aware of this dimension but its leader(s) almost certainly colluded to contrive testimony to a Senate committee. Had a public servant sought to maliciously and dishonestly fabricate equivalent materials against JWH, with an equivalent supporting role from a Labor opposition, you would be (justifiably) apoplectic with rage and demanding nothing less than a royal commission.

  • badm0f0

    BTW, I realise I pretty much only drop in here with a comment when I take issue with something you’ve written (such is the often adversarial nature of the blogosphere). I actually do find a lot of your posts extremely informative and well argued, whether I agree with the conclusions or not. Posts like the Market for Lemons one you did a while ago are an absolute treat for nonconomists like myself who don’t necessarily know what unknowns they should be looking at.

  • melaleuca

    I agree with badmofo. Don’t take my abuse personally 🙂

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