19 June 2009

Kev gets a scare. Mal hits a snare. Wayne hides in the glare.

The opportunity to upgrade the Treasurer may be passing.

An interesting day in Parliament on Friday.

In a Senate inquiry today a Treasury official admitted under questioning that offiicials administering the government's OzCar scheme were asked by members of the PM's office to look after a mate of the PMs. Nothing too egregiously scandalous about that, even if it does smack of ethical dodginess, but that's not the real issue. It's Rudd's sanctimony.

The real problem is that the Kevin stood up at the despatch box last week and loudly proclaimed that neither he nor his department had ever made any representations to Treasury on behalf of this chap.

On its face it looks like Kev has lied to Parliament, since that not what Mr Grech, a treasury official, has said under oath. By the accepted standards of Parliament recently affirmed by Kev in his dealing with Joel, Kev should now resign.

That won't happen of course. There's this massive distraction campaign on pointing to some dodgy email that was circulated in the press on Friday. Someone will eventually have to take the blame for this as it is clear that this gully is not dry. The best candidate is Wayne "dry gully" Swan himself. He set up the ridiculous diversion that the Fairfax press fell for about the Opposition Leader being mean to a Rudd staffer about this at a party on Wednesday evening. But the real issue now seems to be that Treasuer Swan denied last week to the House that this second hand car dealer in Brisbane had been given any special treatment by the Government. There are clearly authentic emails now tendered to the Senate enquiry showing that Treasury treated this 51 Club member as a special case. This seems to flatly contradict Wayne's protestations of innocence to the House.

If Rudd is even partially ethical and consistent Swannie should be asked take a dive for him. Australia could then have Lindsay Tanner as Treasurer, a marked improvement over Swannie. We'll all be winners.

If only we had a press we could trust to report this without getting distracted by the government's spin it would be quite interesting instead of infuriating. As it is Fairfax sat on this story all day on Friday, allowing Swan's distraction tactic to fill the news, thereby protecting Kev from unnecessary embarrassment of having this story actually, you know reported. And Fairfax still ended up spinning it late in the day with a weasilly AAP straddle.

Check out this peice of selective Fairfax news bias in its breaking story, ostensibly about the Labor PM getting caught in a lie to Parliament by testimony of a public servant to a Senate enquiry :

"Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull was accused of bullying one of Mr Rudd's
senior advisers earlier this week over the existence of the document.

The government released a file note from economic adviser Andrew Charlton on Friday, in which he alleged Mr Turnbull threatened him on Wednesday.
The opposition believes Mr Charlton wrote the document to Mr Grech.

"This whole OzCar issue will be very damaging for you," Mr Turnbull reportedly told Mr Charlton."Let me give you some friendly advice. You should not lie to protect your boss. You know and I know there is documentary evidence that you have lied."

Why do these earlier diversionary allegations of bullying get referred to at all? We now know why Swan was so keen to point the press to something other than the real issue. It now looks like Turnbull was giving the PM's staffer a pretty prescient warning. But the gooses at AAP and Fairfax, just can't pass up on an opportunity to try to besmirch Turnbull, no matter how lame.

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