Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Grech and the Libs- a tryst that's now public business

On Lateline last night Hockey was squirming, refusing to answer relevant questions and repeating Turnbull's breathtakingly arrogant analogy between their 'special friends' (or is it 'little mates'?) in the Australian Public Service and a journalist's sources. This brings yet another dishonest ploy into the utegate fiasco. The two are clearly different and both Hockey and Turnbull know it.

If politics and journalism rely on members of the Commonwealth Senior Executive Service to breach their contracts, their code of conduct, their responsibilities to the sitting minister and ultimately the public, while being paid at least $150,000 per annum, then this sits in what might be described as a grey area of law and ethics. It is not something to simply sneer and dismiss as a concern in every case.

Whistleblowing in the face of overt concerns about breaches of ethics by others, or manifest public interest, is quite different to merely helping your ideological mates and acting as an ongoing mole. That is dishonest and unethical. For the journalist or politician who receives such information the matter may be less clear, as it is accepted that they use virtually everything they can get their hands on in the course of their work.

However this case is clearly different.

Allegations remain largely speculative and piecemeal, but with the following presently in the public sphere:

- That the email was a piece of fraud, designed as a direct attack on the holders of the two highest offices in this land;

- A strong relationship between the upper echelons of the Liberal Party and Godwin Grech going back years;

- Bucketloads of circumstantial evidence swirling around that suggests Grech may have been involved in the creating or proliferation of the email;

- Bucketloads of circumstantial evidence swirling around that suggests Grech is inconsistent with the truth, and has not met (to put it at the minimum) basic expectations that come with being a very highly paid member of the Senior Executive Service of the APS;

we deserve and are owed a full explanation of why the obvious joining of the dots should not take place.

Turnbull's patronising tone towards the reporter last night was vintage truffles: the arrogant, unrepentant spoilt brat whose contacts, blue ribbon background and sheer bullying prescence have always got him his way.

Surely he looked at that footage later, in the overall context where he is fighting for his political life, and thought: What Was I Thinking? It was as if Latham, a day after grabbing Howard's hand too hard, turned and put Brendan Nelson in a bearhug.

Rudd's decision to avoid a night of the long knives in the APS was in some ways admirable, but this affair has surely damaged the careers of those who want to be able to move between working for the political party of their choice, and working for the public service.

6 comments:

F.G. Marshall-Stacks said...

what A Long Day for Joe yesterday - Sunrise to Lateline.
I watched intently, having been rivetted by question time in the afternoon.
I am convinced by Hockeys body-language that he 'gave away' a clue that GG may have been the leak that revealed the AWB wheat for arms via Jordanian trucking (yes, more utility vehicles).
Malcolm is ruthless - I have been referring everybody for years to the assessment of him in Conrad Blacks autobiog.

Mark Lawrence said...

Good post, armagnac. Thanks for that run down.

Penthe said...

Thanks for that. It's been bothering me that more commentary hasn't been taking that point of view. My rather jolly-hockey sticks view of the public service (as a super-junior member of it) has taken a hit.

Ann oDyne said...

I wish everybody would cut to the heart, the actual oft-quoted question about the car dealer ...
which I understood to mean

'this guy Grant has asked me to
find out if
our car assistance package
will apply to him'.

It did not read as
"let's help this one dealer over all others because he gave the party a ute to haul around our polling day billboards".

Ann oDyne said...

while trying to inform my opinion better, I found 2 good blogs on it:
Woolly Days sets it out for me:
"On 5 December 2008, Treasurer Wayne Swan announced the establishment of a new car dealer finance scheme. As a result of the global financial crisis, the government stepped in with a transitional $2 billion Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). Despite the name the SPV wasn’t a car; it was a finance package. The package would be available to provide liquidity for 450 car dealers left without wholesale floor plan financing when financiers GE Money Motor Solutions and GMAC left the Australian market. The SPV became known as ‘OzCar’ and was legally established as a Trust on 2 January. It soon became the Car Dealership Financing Guarantee Appropriation Bill 2009.

When the SPV legislation finally reached the Senate in June, the Opposition referred to the Economics Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 23 June. This was strange behaviour from the Opposition. Don’t they have car dealer mates too? Was this the set-up for the “smoking gun” they promised against the Prime Minister. Through Andrew Charlton, Turnbull knew that Grant had gotten favourable treatment from the government. Through friend and former Treasury office Paul Lindwall, he faked an email to the civil servant Godwin Grech that outlined the preferential treatment. According to The Punch, Lindwall “has links” to Grech."
... and that link to The Punch blog is worth following.

Did Peter Costello get a whiff of this cook-up and depart anyhow,
or,
If Costello knew they were cooking this up, would he not have stayed to usurp MALcolm?

F.G. Marshall-Stacks said...

Jukly 1st update proving my conviction that
Turnbull WILL Achieve PMness:

"The Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull found sanctuary from last week's parliamentary beating - by going to Afghanistan. It can now be revealed that Mr Turnbull left on Sunday night and spent a day and a half visiting Australian troops stationed in the ... "

All bow to The SPIN.
the sheer, inyaface spin.