Home > Oz Politics > Escalation

Escalation

June 20th, 2009

The Great Ute Scandal has been bubbling along for weeks but I ignored it, partly because scandals are rarely interesting and partly because I couldn’t get to the starting point of working out what wrongdoing was supposed to have taken place (compare for example the Manildra business, which involved large sums of public money and provoked no serious concern). But in the last day or two the stakes have been raised dramatically, based on the alleged email from the PM’s office urging a prompt response to the concerns of a car dealer who contributed a car to Rudd’s campaign.

Whatever the significance of the putative email may have been, Rudd’s outright denial that any such email was sent means that it will be a major crisis for him if the email turns up, and possibly a terminal one if it turns out that the email was suppressed. On the other hand, if it can be proved that the email published by the Telegraph and referred to by Turnbull was in fact a fake, the consequences will be dire for Turnbull at least (I don’t suppose the Tele could lose much credibility). As my recent spam crisis demonstrates, I’m no tech expert, but I would have thought that the headers on an email would make it pretty easy to check whether it had been sent and that erasing all trace of an email would be just about impossible. And it would be grossly irresponsible to publish an alleged email if you received it with the identifying info removed.

Update

The news that the email was a fake confirms that the outcome will be bad for Turnbull, and could be catastrophic. The worst case, but a plausible one on the evidence to hand, is that the email was the product of a fraud cooked up between Liberal staffers and one or more corrupt Treasury officials. Even the best case, that the email was fabricated for some personal reason, and passed to the Liberals along with other leaks about the car scheme, doesn’t look good. I guess, given the twists and turns so far, it’s also necessary to consider the Machiavellian possible of a (highly successful) agent provocateur, luring Turnbull into a trap, as happened (IIRC) with Ralph Willis in 1996.

Further update

It now appears that the worst-case scenario is pretty close to the truth. Grech has apparently been working as a source of leaks to the Liberal party for a long period*. Apart from the obvious disastrous implications for the Liberals, this point also casts doubt on what remains of the case against Swan. If Grech was working for the Libs all along, he could easily have generated a large volume of emails, reports and so on, without any particular pressure from the government

* The term “mole” is commonly used in such cases, but the original idea of a mole was one of an agent in place who did nothing but burrow nto the target organisation, waiting for the time to act.

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  1. wilful
    June 20th, 2009 at 23:56 | #1

    Double or nothing, you’re basically saying. The stakes have been reaised so high now that somebody’s got to lose some skin.

  2. may
    June 21st, 2009 at 03:27 | #2

    very similar to the utterances given under privilege in the South Aust State parliament not so long ago.

    all this semem

  3. may
    June 21st, 2009 at 03:30 | #3

    sorry pressed submit by mistake.

    i meant to say

    all this seems storm in a teacup silly compared to whats happening right now in Persia.

    Oz is one of the governments opening the doors to the injured in Tehran.

  4. David
    June 21st, 2009 at 05:25 | #4

    It is a strange that an email that neither the sender nor the recipient is able or willing to produce should then appear in the Tele. The email may well be a fake. The Liberal Party does have some form in this regard. At the last election members of the Liberal Party were found guilty of electoral fraud and previously Senator Hefferan was forced to make an embarrassing retraction because evidence he presented against Justice Kirby was subsequently found to be false.

  5. nanks
    June 21st, 2009 at 06:58 | #5

    This ‘event’ is small beers – politicians privilege all sorts of people over others. They mislead the public all the time. A great diversion to show ‘democracy in action’.

  6. Kitchenslut
    June 21st, 2009 at 07:13 | #6

    No techie either but it is possible I think to some extent to replicate the headers but no idea if this should be easily detectable by any competent techie. Only going off an April Fools joke from a Cairns blogger which sent out a PR Release from Council media office with headers sourced from a Council email and also disclaimer footer ….. apparently some of the recipient media fell for it and did turn up for the media event or at least had to make direct enquiries to verify it.

  7. Donald Oats
    June 21st, 2009 at 08:30 | #7

    Bringing the AFP into it not only raises the stakes, but is also about the only way to credibly establish who dunnit. Their IT forensics staff are more than capable of detecting attempted deletions from local hard drives, should anyone have been so niiave as to think that was enough. In any case, these days the email server(s) at the site (parliament) should be saving a copy of all that passes through it, for precisely this reason. It isn’t like 5 years back when disk space was still a significant expense to consider. Heck, I’ve got more than 1TB at home and even that is small by today’s standards.

    Let the cards fall where they may…but check the staffers for the hard right in the NSW Liberal Party along the way – they’ve got history, afterall ;-)

  8. June 21st, 2009 at 08:37 | #8

    The truly amazing thing is that Turnbull would base his accusations on an alleged email which he now concedes he has never even seen, and presumably didn’t think it worth his while to verify. The ‘Telegraph’ must be touched that at least one reader retains such blind faith in their integrity.

  9. Chris Warren
    June 21st, 2009 at 08:57 | #9

    It is not possible to create false Government emails. All public service emails have rigorous to: and from: fields plus server details, that are always accessible to system administrators in backups if they passed through Government computers.

    This issue is total bull from Turnbull.

    If he (or any Liberal hack) have created a false document (as they did in the seat of Lindsay) for political processes – Turnbull should be ejected from Parliament.

    He either produces the email, with the normal public service “mail header” and time stamp, or he should get kicked out of Parliament.

    Australian democracy should not be jeopardised by false documents from foul right-wingers.

  10. SeanG
    June 21st, 2009 at 09:05 | #10

    Turnbull has not produced nor has he seen the letter yet despite the fact that there is documentary proof that the Treasurer has kept an extremely keen interest although he denied any such thing and despite the fact that a Treasury official stated that from his recollection there was an email… Malcolm Turnbull is the story.

    If he has not seen the email but journalists who have obtained it swear that it is genuine then you have a warped sense of priorities.

  11. Alice
    June 21st, 2009 at 09:09 | #11

    I have the feeling this is going to backfire badly on Turnbull. What was so interesting also was why Grech’s supervisor seemed to give him no credibility. It has all the hallmarks of a hard right cook up and whats more its small bikkies compared to the Manildra affair (and the Tampa affair and the AWB affair and the countless other coalition “mates” that benefitted under Howard – all those board appointments eg Windschuttle and Albrechtsen and countless others.

    Its actually quite a pathetic incident and I think the federal police should be brought in – if nothing else but to clean out the muckrakers…and silence the likes of the perennially obnoxious Tony Abbott.

  12. SeanG
    June 21st, 2009 at 09:16 | #12

    I agree with Alice that it will backfire on Turnbull because I cannot understand why the PM would deny, deny and deny the existence of an email if it actually existed.

  13. nanks
    June 21st, 2009 at 09:24 | #13

    Perhaps the email was deleted from backups as well and logs rewritten – these are tech issues and can probably be falsified with sufficient knowledge. Not that I am saying they were, but IT evidence is falsifiable.

  14. Jill Rush
    June 21st, 2009 at 10:06 | #14

    By calling in the AFP early Rudd is indicating that he doesn’t believe the issue has substance, otherwise he has gambled wildly- Something he doesn’t appear to do in other circumstances. The evidence from the public servant was not compelling and he has every reason to be nervous as it could cost him his job under the PS Code of Conduct. There will be evidence on his email account if such a document exists and therefore tracable by police through the IT support systems of government. Turnbull may end up weakening his recent gains in popularity by his recklessness. The claims have credibility however as both Liberal and Labor seem inclined to help out mates when in government. There is plenty of evidence of that in State governments too. Both sides will be hurt by these accusations.

  15. Chris Warren
    June 21st, 2009 at 10:07 | #15

    The real issue is not this particular email.

    The issue is how noxious rightwingers use false documents to corrupt Australian politics.

    “Terith” Khemlani (sp?)
    1996 Ralph Willis letters
    Heffernan’s Kirby document
    Lindsay Islamic leaflet
    Liberal Party hack’s false Jon Stanhope website in Canberra
    and now Turnbull’s bullshit.

    Turnbull needs to be inteviewed under the same guidelines as applied to building workers. If he fails to give honest answers, he goes to gaol.

  16. nanks
    June 21st, 2009 at 10:16 | #16

    The email evidence will only be there if it has not been removed – emails can disappear, logs can be altered, backups faulty and so forth. IT records are no more secure than any other – in some ways less so. There is an entire industry of security because of this.

  17. Chris Warren
    June 21st, 2009 at 10:37 | #17

    nanks

    I do not think this applies to Australian Public Service systems.

    In fact, I am sure that government departments can always retrieve all and any official business email.

    This is the law?

    So the AFP have a very easy task.

  18. June 21st, 2009 at 10:44 | #18

    Shorter nanks: even if nobody has seen it and there is absolutely no evidence it ever existed, you can’t say it didn’t.

    Presumably the intended implication of this extraoedinary line of reasoning is that we (and especially the media) should discuss the issues in a ‘balanced’ way that gives space and credibility to arguments that assume the email is real.

    This is becoming a predictable conservative rhetorical strategy. Justice Kirby may well have used Commonwealth cars to pick up male prostitutes even if the hard evidence was forged. Climate change denialists deserve equal respect to anyone else because you can’t prove they are wrong. It’s obvious Mahomed Haneef was part of a terrorist network because he couldn’t prove he wasn’t. Saddam had WMDs because nobody could prove he didn’t. Iran is secretly developing nukes because there is no proof they are not.

    It takes ‘absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence’ to the level of a comprehensive generic epistomelogy in which all assertions they like deserve serious consideration regardless of the lack of supporting evidence. The very act of making a claim generates a prima facie plausibility and the onus is on others to prove it’s not true. Statements made to the detriment of enemies are accepted at face value while denials are dismissed as self-serving lies or distortions.

    Then they have the gall to make snide remarks about post-modernism.

  19. Alice
    June 21st, 2009 at 10:51 | #19

    Interesting analysis here on the utehoax…

    http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/2009/06/20/default.aspx

    Im inlcined to agree – if Rudd or Swan were trying to do a favour for a mate…would it really be solicited in the form of a cheery informal “Hi Godwin” fully recordable email from the PM’s office?

    I dont think so.

    I suspect the police may now ask Mr Turnbull for his “copies” and hey presto – suddenly Malcolm “didnt actually see the originals” (I thought he was looking a bit pale in the Sunday papers). I would suggest they need to search some coalition hard drives for the originals.

  20. Jill Rush
    June 21st, 2009 at 10:57 | #20

    Nanks, IT security is quite separate to officer usage in the public service. It would require a level of corruption doesn’t exist in Australia to erase the evidence and to have the AFP also fail to notice the erasure from all the back up tapes. I doubt that all the officers concerned would risk their own freedoms and/or job for the PM or the Treasurer.

  21. jquiggin
    June 21st, 2009 at 11:14 | #21

    I’m not an expert, but I know enough to be confident that no-one in the PMs or Treasurer’s office has a fraction of the expertise that would be needed to wipe out the traces of an email once it had been sent and received. If, as seems clear, the supposed erasure took place weeks after the email was sent, I doubt that even a team of IT specialists could do the job reliably, covering their own tracks after the event.

  22. Donald Oats
    June 21st, 2009 at 11:53 | #22

    In the olden days (ie Unix) two well known techniques for backdoor access could give a person root (superuser), from which they could scrub logs or even generate forgeries to cover the times from first attack to logout. However, to the best of my failing memory, our sysadmin knew of ways to determine that logs had been modified in such a manner, so it presumably would only fool newby sysadmin staff. I think it was AusCert that would regularly inform sysadmins of various attack attributes and ways of detecting them, and preventing them.

    In any case, the politics of it seem to rest on three points:
    a) the existence of the email and some indication of its provenance;
    b) if a), then who really sent it;
    c) if b), then who received it, both the first receiver and all cc, bcc.

    Point (a) has been elevated by Kevin Rudd as he has based his strategy, for dealing with the opposition, entirely upon the trust of his staff. That is commendable and I applaud it, but boy is it a courageous thing to do. If it turns out that the email is real and also came from the PMO, then Kevin’s attacks upon the opposition may be boomerangs for him.

    Point (a) can obviously cause serious ructions in the Liberal party for Malcolm Turnbull, if the email turns out to be a forgery (say, one that is spoofed and then routed through an anonymising server on way to the journalist in question). If on the other hand it exists and came from either the PMO or Swan’s office, then the evidence of that should be somewhere in the system. Even a delete from disk, followed by a rewrite of other data over the top of the original file location, is not enough to make certain it cannot be detected. While we tend to think of the data as binary on the disk it does in fact leave a distinct magnetic pattern, which is not entirely eliminated by a single rewrite with new data. IT forensics involves detection of this sort of deleted data, among other things. For this reason, and others, I sincerely hope for Rudd’s sake, and to be magnanimous, for his staff and for Turnbull, that the email is a clever forgery generated outside of the PS system. But I doubt it.

    What alarms me about the whole issue is that the surfacing of alleged emails, and the like, and they manner in which the Liberals are using these, has the same stench of lowdown dirty tricks that the Republicans play (I’d include the Democrats too, except they haven’t been in power for eight years and I’m blowed if I can recall the nasty stuff by them – no doubt I’ll be set straight on that). We just don’t need this level of viciousness by any member of parliament. The Prime Minister has in my opinion taken the correct approach of calling in the AFP to investigate whether the email exists, and given that, who is the originator.

  23. swio
    June 21st, 2009 at 11:54 | #23

    Perhaps the email was deleted from backups as well and logs rewritten – these are tech issues and can probably be falsified with sufficient knowledge. Not that I am saying they were, but IT evidence is falsifiable.

    It would not be falsifiable by anyone outside the IT department. I presume that the PM’s office and Treasury have seperate IT infrastructure and support so it would actually need someone or some people with access to both the PM and Treasury department IT support. Below is a starting checklist of all the things a competent IT person would need to do to falsify the evidence.

    * Delete the actual emails from all PM office servers
    * Delete the actual emails from all PM office backups
    * Re-write log files on all PM servers the email passed through
    * Upload re-written logs to PM office backups

    * Delete the actual emails from all Treasury servers
    * Delete the actual emails from all Treasury backups
    * Re-write log files on all Treasury servers the email passed through
    * Upload re-written logs to Treasury backups

    Perform an analysis of the likely path the email used to get between the PM and Treasury office and then
    * Re-write log files on all intermediate servers the email passed through
    * Upload re-written logs to wherever those logs are backed up to.

    Even if an IT person did all the above they would still go to bed at night wondering if they found every step the email made on the path from PM to Treasury. And it would need multiple IT people as I doubt there is a single user that has access to both the PM’s servers and the Treasury server’s. So we’re talking about a conspicacy of at least two IT users and quite likely more. Tape backups often require multiple people to get access to and re-writing them in a way that would not be immediately obvious might require re-writing the entire backup which would be a tricky thing to do. The point I’m trying to make is that you would need an IT conspiracy to conceal the email properly and that is something that would be difficult to acheive. Its not as simple as ordering one person in one IT department to delete an email off the server.

    All this presumes the Australian Federal Police would perform a competent investigation. After reading in the Haneef transcripts showing that Australia’s premier anti-terrorism interrogators didn’t know what Skype is you have to wonder if that is a reasonable assumption. If the AFP is as dumb as they appeared on that occasion then they may not find anything even if the emails exist and no active attempt has been made to hide them.

  24. Alice
    June 21st, 2009 at 12:26 | #24

    Well then …how about someone analysing Godwins print outs to ascertain whether they match the paper type where he says he printed them out? Instructions to print – wouldnt they show on a computer and can they be erased? How come there are no print details (like date and time) if its treasury….shouldnt there be a date and time printed and how did they get to the newspapers without Grech apparently being able to find his own originals and who told Mal(…evolent?)?. There are holes in this.

  25. June 21st, 2009 at 13:02 | #25

    Here we go … interminable tedious speculation about how the absence of evidence might possibly be explained. If you read the corresponding thread over at Larvatus Prodeo you’ll find conspiracy theories that it was all a plot by Julia Gillard to get rid of Rudd, or Rudd to get rid of Swan, or the ALP to get rid of Turnbull, or Costello for a bit of a laugh … indeed once we abandon evidence in favour of speculation we can invent pretty well any alternative reality we choose.

    If someone wants to make serious allegations on the basis of an artefact, the onus is on them to produce it and verify its authenticity beyond reasonable doubt. This applies to digital files just as much as any other artefact. Until they do that, they should be ignored. Adopting any other approach makes sensible discussion and analysis impossible.

  26. Alice
    June 21st, 2009 at 13:11 | #26

    I agree with Ken. Mal should put up or shut up. Its just dirt raking which the coalition have proved themselves adept at concocting before today and the lot of them happily turned a blind eye to Howards pals and brother (Manildra – that couldnt have been anymore blatant a case of profiteering – oh and then there was the dubious firepower exec ex minister under Howard). The coalition have a reputation for this sort of thing. Its a joke.

  27. June 21st, 2009 at 14:05 | #27

    My limited understanding of such things is that it used to be the case that if there is a poorly configured mail server around, then all that someone would need to do to fake an email would be telnet to the right port of the mail server, and type in the headers and body of the fake mail. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is still easy for people to fake emails.

    PS the preview is running very slowly and really slowing down the process of typing this comment right now, hope this is not a long term problem.

  28. Donald Oats
    June 21st, 2009 at 14:31 | #28

    As Jill Rush, swio, Ken Lovell, Chris Warrent et al. have stated, it is not really likely that this email – whether genuine or a spoofed one – would have originated within the parliamnetary network *and* then be removed without trace. It would be one heck of a job and would involve multiple perps. Given this, it is most likely an external (to parliamentary IT systems) spoofed forgery.

    If this is true then it reflects poorly upon the newspaper for not checking its veracity in some way (eg, by asking the individual who was meant to have sent it), and also upon the Liberal party for making it public without having first established its veracity.

    I think that one way or another blood will be spilt. Looks like politicians need to do more than just beware the Ides of March. Not a good look.

  29. jquiggin
    June 21st, 2009 at 14:39 | #29

    Is anyone else having trouble with preview? It works fine for me.

  30. Alice
    June 21st, 2009 at 14:51 | #30

    I dont seem to have preview

  31. Alice
    June 21st, 2009 at 14:57 | #31

    Sorry you mean this square where we type? Mine is working.

  32. Donald Oats
    June 21st, 2009 at 14:57 | #32

    This is a test: preview italic and bold both work. It is pretty quick too, so no, no trouble with it for me.

  33. Kitchenslut
    June 21st, 2009 at 15:02 | #33

    To go back to my previous post this is the email header as it appeared on an April Fools prank from a Cairns blogger generated as I understand it from outside Council servers etc entirely and at least to many media recipients appearing to be genuinely from the Council media officer.

    From: Anderson Sonja [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: Wednesday, 1 April 2009 6:25 AM
    Cc: ’4kz’; ‘A Hodge – The Australian’; ‘AAP News’; ‘Advance Cairns’; ‘Le Comte Ann’; ‘Barton Nicole’; ‘Belinda Featherstone’; ‘Blake Alan’; ‘Bonneau Sno’; ‘Kier Shorey – ABC’; ‘Bronwyn Cummings – Cairns Post’; ‘Bruce Woolley(ABC regional manager)’; ‘Cairns News Papers – Editor’; ‘Cairns Post’; ‘Cairns Post’; ‘Cairns Sun ‘; ‘Carla Keith’; ‘Channel Seven’; ‘Cochrane Margaret’; ‘Cooper Linda’; ‘Damon Guppy – Cairns Post’; ‘Darren Nelson – ABC’; ‘Debra Best – Channel Seven’; ‘Debra Murray – WIN Tv’; ‘Desley Boyle’; ‘Easy Listening 846 (E-mail)’; ‘Fagand – Queensland Newspapers’; ‘Dix Fiona’; ‘Forsyth Diane’; ‘Gavin King – Cairns Post’; ‘Genine – City Life’; ‘Gregory Paul’; ‘Jackie – BBM’; ‘Jason O’Brien’; ‘Joy Wilson – Cairns Newspapers’
    Subject: media release Cairns Mayor launches memoir book

  34. jquiggin
    June 21st, 2009 at 15:24 | #34

    It’s easy enough to make up a spoof email to fool a paper like the Tele. But obviously, if one had been sent to the Treasury, they would have replied to the putative sender in the PM’s office, and the jig would be up.

    It looks increasingly clear that no email was sent by the PM’s office or received by the Treasury, and that as a result Turnbull is on very thin ice.

  35. Michael Of Summer Hill
    June 21st, 2009 at 16:15 | #35

    John, I not sure if Government departments still use colour coded tags but if the John Grant file had a ‘blue tag’ then the AFP will have no trouble working out who gave the green light for Godwin to go ahead.

  36. Monkey’s Uncle
    June 21st, 2009 at 17:02 | #36

    Chris Warren says “He either produces the email, with the normal public service “mail header” and time stamp, or he should get kicked out of Parliament.

    Australian democracy should not be jeopardised by false documents from foul right-wingers.”

    Irony alert Chris. On the one hand you are denouncing democracy being jeopardised, but at the same time demanding that a democratically-elected Member of Parliament be summarily “kicked out of Parliament”.

  37. Monkey’s Uncle
    June 21st, 2009 at 17:06 | #37

    “The issue is how noxious rightwingers use false documents to corrupt Australian politics.

    “Terith” Khemlani (sp?)
    1996 Ralph Willis letters”

    Chris, the Ralph Willis affair involved Willis using fake documents to discredit political opponents. Even if Willis was set up with fake documents, it was his responsibility to check out their veracity before using them.

  38. June 21st, 2009 at 17:26 | #38

    Just one small point. As a senior Treasury official Godwin Grech would have known the Ozcar initiative was a political hot potato from its inception. Any experienced bureaucrat receiving an email from the Prime Minister’s Office would surely have kept a back-up hard copy as well as ensuring it was retained on his computer. Grech obviously did not do this because he has not produced a copy and both the PM and Treasury experts can find no record of such an email in the week around the date he thought he might have received it. It makes one wonder how reliable he is as a witness.

  39. Alice
    June 21st, 2009 at 17:47 | #39

    I really think that Malcolm has to admit he flew a kite with this one.

    But its just sad at the end of the day, if this is what it takes to score points in politics – a gamble on a smear. I was saying to my ever patient husband – what is wrong with politics these days…??There were times when politicians had dignity (werent there?) and could rise above the “attack dog sneerings” or “false smearings” by people like Tony Abbott (and now Malcolm) with a certain savoir faire!

    Lets move away from the attack dog style and get some elegance back.

    The sophisticated and subtle entrancement of politics has gone missing and in its place???…lies, lies, damned lies and media beat ups!

    Its just sad. They dont really convince any of us with this sort of rubbish and its just so, so, so uninspiring.

  40. Jacques Chester
    June 21st, 2009 at 17:52 | #40

    There are two different issues at work here.

    To produce a document that looks the genuine article is trivial. Emails are plain text — there’s no magic. I could, if I so wished, probably produce an email from anyone to anyone else on any topic I chose. It’s just a matter of getting a sample of the genuine article in order to get the right server names. Not too hard. Unless you use digital signatures, there’s simply no way for a third party to categorically prove or refute the authenticity of such an email, short of “he said, she said”.

    Then there is the server-side considerations. Many organisations store a copy of all emails that cross their servers from internal sources. In any half-decent organisation the copies are also available in backup form. A sufficiently deep search can determine whether such an email was sent using the organisation’s own servers; though this doesn’t stop people using web mail providers to perform an end-run around such archival systems. Deleting evidence from archives and backups is difficult and would require a larger coverup.

    To recap: creating a false email requires one person. Deleting an email from a well-run IT system would require at least two (the person ordering the coverup and an IT administrator having access to both email servers and backups).

    At this point Occam’s Razor suggests to me that Turnbull and/or the Tele have been shown a falsie.

    Interestingly, Rudd’s bluster is letting Swan get off the hook. Swan is fare more severely compromised – he claimed having no knowledge of the matter in Parliament, yet PS records show that he got correspondence forwarded to his private fax. That’s a smoking gun, bloodied footprint and signed confession at the scene. But attention is tied up by the Turnbull-Rudd poker game. Swan could get by in the shadows.

  41. Alice
    June 21st, 2009 at 18:05 | #41

    I watched Grech live. I thought he was lying and getting more uncomfortable by the minute. I wouldnt trust Grech as far as I could kick him. Someone got to Grech with something. Even his own supervisor ontradicted his credibility. I dont think he has any. He twisted under questioning and then played the sympathy card “woe is me …no public servant should find themselves in my position.” Yeah right. I think Grech has been played.

  42. Jill Rush
    June 21st, 2009 at 18:42 | #42

    His lack of conviction was in complete contrast to the importance of the task.

  43. Chris Warren
    June 21st, 2009 at 18:50 | #43

    All these jabbering journalists – not one is looking at their own camp.

    It was the Steve Lewis – the “journalist” – who proffered the email. Not one journo or politician, that I’ve noticed, have demanded that he fess up.

    The Australian media are beating this up in their own interests.

  44. rog
    June 21st, 2009 at 18:55 | #44

    No doubt about the ALP – they eat their own.

    No doubt Grech will be bundled off “for health reasons”

  45. Donald Oats
    June 21st, 2009 at 19:11 | #45

    As far as Grech goes, I’d give him the benefit of the doubt for now – his superior repeatedly cut in and ran interference, and I reckon it wasn’t for Godwin’s sake that he did that. If AFP interview him he should be able to give a clear statement of events as he believes them, without someone watching over his shoulder.

    I’m prepared to believe (for now) that he knew he was in the thick of it and felt fairly stressed by the situation, especially when his superior interrupted so often. That would have to be unsettling. However, as Alice says, he may have been played.

    I think Jacques is correct in saying that Swan is probably the more exposed person, in terms of circumstantial evidence. However, Grech may have deliberately sent sitreps to Swan’s home fax for whatever reason I won’t speculate, and it may not have been at Swan’s request.

    This will take some time to play out…

  46. Chris Warren
    June 21st, 2009 at 19:31 | #46

    Here is Turnbull’s desperate bullying tirade.

    Notice how this Turnbull takes no notice of the poor staffers replies.

    Turnbull is obviously a VERY dangerous character.

    ******************************************************

    “Let me give you some advice because I think you have a very promising career ahead of you,” Mr Turnbull is quoted as saying.

    “Integrity is the most important thing in the career of a young man.”

    Mr Charlton said he replied: “Thank you for the advice. I don’t feel any pressure to lie.”

    Mr Turnbull continued: “This whole OzCar issue will be very damaging for you. Let me just give you some friendly advice.

    “You should not lie to protect your boss.”

    Mr Charlton: “I have not.”

    Mr Tyurnbull: “You know and I know there is documentary evidence that you have lied.”

    Mr Charlton: “There is not.”

    Mr Turnbull: “Andrew, you know that there is documentary evidence. This could be very damaging for you.”

    Mr Charlton: “I have not had any contact with Mr Grant.”

    Mr Turnbull: “Ah well, I advise you to consider your action carefully.”

  47. Allan
    June 21st, 2009 at 19:42 | #47

    Alice, I also watch the Senate hearing live.
    I saw the chair Senator Hurley quite openly prevent Mr Grech from answering Senator Abetz questions.
    I saw Mr Martine (Mr Grech’s departmental superior) openly shut down Mr Grech from answering questions.
    I saw Senator Cameron ask Mr Grech if Gay Hull’s inquire on behalf of a constituent of was special (as opposed to John Grant, Rudd’s mate).
    Mr Grech’s answer was NO!
    Shame on Rudd and Swan for putting a public servant into a position of having to find a form of words that would satisfy his oath of honesty to the Senate and having to keep his job.
    The public service will take note of how poorly he was treated.
    I also note that it is contempt of the Senate to prevent someone to answer questions to the best of their knowledge (Alice no doubt saw this at the beginning of the hearing when the chair Senator Hurley read the proforma rules at the start of the hearing).
    Rudd and Swan are charged with misleading Parliament over a nothing issue.
    How stupid are they!
    I also note that there are twenty plus sweet young Gen Y’s in the PMO looking after the PM’s electronic image.
    Do you think that they know their way around computers and the protocols?
    Go figure!

  48. Chris Warren
    June 21st, 2009 at 20:00 | #48

    Is Allan being a bit too coy?

    Alice, I also watch the Senate hearing live.

    ….

    I also note that there are twenty plus sweet young Gen Y’s in the PMO looking after the PM’s electronic image.

    How does one know that there are twenty sweet young Gen Ys in the PMO?

    What is your conflict of interest?

    What employer allows you to watch proceedings live in work time?

  49. nanks
    June 21st, 2009 at 20:08 | #49

    I am surprised to find many think that evidence could not be falsified or removed and that any number of toadies and cowards would not collude. You must have very different work experiences to mine. And why assume by default that the official history of the state apparatus is a true and honest account. What history supports that?
    Now I do not mean to imply that any of the versions of utegate are correct or not. How could I or any of us know the true events? It is just a diversion from the main game of supporting the powerful with enormous sums of money and pivilege. It is of no account in substance anyway. If Rudd goes a Rudd-a-like takes his place, if Turnbull goes, so what.

  50. Kitchenslut
    June 21st, 2009 at 20:37 | #50

    “I watched Grech live. I thought he was lying and getting more uncomfortable by the minute. I wouldnt trust Grech as far as I could kick him.” – Alice

    I thought the exact same thing about Lindy Chamberlain and the dingo …….

  51. rog
    June 21st, 2009 at 21:12 | #51

    How far can Alice kick Grech?

  52. Alice
    June 21st, 2009 at 21:43 | #52

    Kitchenslut – strangely I never thought that way about Lindy.

  53. Monkey’s Uncle
    June 21st, 2009 at 23:27 | #53

    One reason why this issue could be highly damaging to the government is because the government has staked its economic credibility on the current stimulus measures.

    If the government is going to take the country heavily into debt in an attempt to revive the economy, the electorate will surely demand that the money is at least being spent wisely. The merest hint that funds are being misdirected for political purposes would be a major blow to their credibility.

  54. June 22nd, 2009 at 06:44 | #54

    The AFP interview with Godwin Grech will be interesting. He will have to say if he thinks the published email is the one he may have seen. If he says yes, the question arises why he did not send a response, as was invited.

  55. TerjeP (say tay-a)
    June 22nd, 2009 at 08:37 | #55

    If an official email was sent and the record of it is now deleted then this entails quite a substantial conspiracy. I agree with others that this does not seem likely. Watching how this saga unfolds shall be interesting.

  56. Chris Warren
    June 22nd, 2009 at 08:57 | #56

    Michelle Grattan is doing her best to backstop for Malcolm’s dirty tricks.

    On ABC breakfast radio she exonerated Turnbull saying as he heard of an email he had the right to pursue it.

    Problem is – Rudd was also on the ABC saying the Liberals raised the email BEFORE it was published by hack Steve Lewis.

    So we need an inquiry into journalists and their deliberate misrepresentations and false politically inspired documents.

  57. charles
    June 22nd, 2009 at 09:11 | #57

    The whole thing is insignificant. It would not be worth the bother of attempting to destroy documents. The issue is not that it couldn’t be done, but that it would involve too many people. The interesting issue is not the ute or for that matter the email, but who got suckered into email-gate and how. Will it be the end of Turnbull’s political career? Probable not.

  58. Chris Warren
    June 22nd, 2009 at 10:10 | #58

    Charles

    I think that politicians and others who create or use false documents for political purposes need to be charged, tried and convicted.

    We have coercive interrogations for building workers – why not for criminal journalists and parliamentarians.

    The damage fraudulent documents can do is far worse than violence on building sites.

    This episode is showing Turnbull and the Liberals to be very dangerous to Australian democracy.

  59. charles
    June 22nd, 2009 at 10:37 | #59

    Chris
    I agree, and the Liberals seem to have a track record. It’s going to be fun watching the whole thing unravel.

  60. Gong and forgotten
    June 22nd, 2009 at 11:17 | #60

    Having worked in both State and Commonwealth areas I find it difficult to believe that Grech 1)did not keep a copy of the email 2)didnt advise his superiors about the request or 3)advise PMO about correct protocols for making requests.

    Point 3 relates to Depts setting up protocols to deal with such requests so they can track them and check outcomes and timliness.

    I simply cant believe that Grech did not keep any record of the request. How many times does he get requests from the PMO ??

    It is not difficult to consider that when the real referral from Swan came in their was discussion in Grechs area about Grant being a ‘friend ‘ of the PMs and Swan and the need to deal with as a special case. This would not be unusual and in Grechs memory he would turn this into a request for special attention.

    The whole point of an MP referring a mater is to get attention, special or otherwise, but this is quite different from getting a decsion outside guidelines/rules etc

    Mind you the whole thing is paltry compared to true issues like AWB

  61. Alice
    June 22nd, 2009 at 11:38 | #61

    Exactly Gong. Paltry compared to AWB and paltry compared to a now federal police investigation into activities by persons on the board of the RBA – and this investigation called for by the RBA itself (and who appointed those RBA board members? It certainly wasnt Rudd).

    Stay tuned for the next one – the termites that undermined systems and favoured private interests made on the back of the public purse, under John Howard’s blind eyes, still coming out of the woodwork. What did happen to the last of Australia’s wool surplus after the privatisation of the wool board? Ended up in a few private hands under who? JH again.

    The absolute hypocrisy of Malcolm and his party is ASTONISHING. This is ridiculously paltry accusation and if its the best the Coalition can do – then we have a much better cleaner federal government in power now. Praise be.

  62. Chris Warren
    June 22nd, 2009 at 11:43 | #62

    Looks like the public servant Grech is about to have his head chopped-off.

    Cops are now raiding his home and searching his computer. I wonder if they will find a Liberal Party membership card?

    It’s Steve lewis who needs to be raided, and he may be wise to chuck his computer into the lake asap.

    I hope the public servant will be exonerated, as it is too easy to blame them for inadvertant involvement in Ministerial staffers silly games.

  63. Alice
    June 22nd, 2009 at 14:56 | #63

    Typical Coalitionb tactics… according to the ABC the email has been found after a raid on Grech’s home computer and is a “forgery” and was “concocted inside Treasury”. Rog I dont think I could kick Grech far enough. Too slippery.

    The AFP need to search Grech’s computer for his liberal connections as well. They are really quite accomplished at forged documents (or getting their lackeys to forge them) arent they?

    The double D party (dishonest and denialist).

  64. Crispin Bennett
    June 22nd, 2009 at 15:40 | #64

    Alice: The AFP may be way ahead of you.

  65. Alice
    June 22nd, 2009 at 16:04 | #65

    Yes well its a good thing Crispin – I knew I trusted the dingo more than Grech – its a shame the media doesnt get it right….where exactly are the proper and called for blaring headlines “Malcolm Turnbull needs to explain himself!!”
    But instead thanks to Mr Murdoch we will only get…”Malcom Turnbull says he knew nothing about it.”

  66. Crispin Bennett
    June 22nd, 2009 at 16:16 | #66

    I’d just find it great fun to see Turnbull damaged. He’s been such a disappointment — having heard so much of his much-vaunted ‘intelligence’, I had briefly and foolishly hoped that we might be in for some more productive tension between government and opposition than usual. But the positively Springborgian levels of idiotic reflexive droning heard from him as leader make me suspect that most of the ‘vaunting’ must have been coming directly from him …

  67. Michael of Summer Hill
    June 22nd, 2009 at 17:59 | #67

    John, in the past public servants working on ie ‘blue tagged files’ would have received their instructions direct from departmental heads. In Godwin’s case I can only assume this has happened.

  68. Chris Warren
    June 22nd, 2009 at 18:39 | #68

    Michael

    We have to wait. I would never have predicted that any senior public servant would be involved in such as scandal. It is simply stunning.

    Bad as it is, I still hope it was only a corrupt link-up between Grech and a ex-Turnbull staffer and no more.

    Could it all have been a set-up. Grech a patsy to provide a jounalistic hook for Steve Lewis to launch a missile against the Government?

    Its a pity for Turnbull that his cronies got their running sheet mixed up.

  69. Alice
    June 22nd, 2009 at 20:06 | #69

    I will be completely astonished if Malcolm Turnbull survives this. He cannot even get his own story straight on the ABC tonight (almost embarrassing). He had the contents of the email at that Wed ball but according to him he read about it in the paper……..its actually quite tragic…and then admits to being mistaken “someone must have sent it to the Coalition…we get these sort of things all the time”. Grech is no patsy either – the whole thing was a set up that backfired on the Coalition and he was part of it. Its true to character (or lack of it in the Coalition – now run in current times by extremists who do these sort of things). Its the Coalition party that is morally bankrupt and Grech should be fired.

  70. Alice
    June 22nd, 2009 at 20:41 | #70

    Well – I could almost tend to agree with the Machiavellian plot from deep inside the ranks of the Coalition…but who will step up?
    Shame for ordinary Australians who rely on politicians to actually do something and be essentially decent (and to actually govern usefully). Ah.. but its a media world we live in. All that matters to some of them is their short term grip on power (to hell with governing or shock, horror bipartisanship) and if they cant live honestly …they just “whip an image up” in the media. I think there are some senior public servants only too willing to be political as well….. that really needs fixing when forged emails are making it from Treasury to the Coalition faster than to the media. Get the broom and start rebuilding the public sector to be a public, non political sector (and if your party is in opposition – start asking yourselves why you lost the votes, instead of cooking up yet MORE lies).

  71. Socrates
    June 22nd, 2009 at 22:52 | #71

    Having worked in Canberra I have to say I found Grech’s comments on Friday odd. If he got an email from PMC why wouldn’t he keep a copy on file? Why wouldn’t he check who the email came from? Just to cover your own butt it would be the first thing you would do there. I can’t beleive someone could rise to his level (Branch head) without knowing that. His performance at the hearing was very odd.

    Turnbull showed very poor judgement running with this before the credibility of the email was checked. Even if true, utegate wasn’t exactly the scandal of the century. For a former trial lawyer, he isn’t great at evidentiary standards.

    A lot of journalists who jumped on this bandwagon before all the facts were known have also got egg on their face tonight. “Scoop” Lewis has some explaining to do.

  72. Alice
    June 23rd, 2009 at 06:50 | #72

    Socrates – my sister has been a public servant for many years and she said exactly the same thing. You would hardly delete an email from the pm’s office without filing a copy would you? You would at least print it out and file it especially alongside your reply. Where was that also?

  73. Chris Warren
    June 23rd, 2009 at 09:44 | #73

    If the Liberals can decapitate the Iraqi government based on fraud and lies, why should the Australian government be allowed to survive a few years later?

  74. Chris Warren
    June 23rd, 2009 at 10:01 | #74

    If the Liberals can decapitate one Labor government in 1975 based on fraud and lies, why should the Rudd government be allowed to survive a few years later?

  75. Donald Oats
    June 23rd, 2009 at 10:28 | #75

    Whether Grech is innocent or guilty, or just a “mule” used to provide some validity to the email fabrication, is now for the AFP to determine.

    The leader of the opposition, on the other hand, has dealt himself a mortal wound.

    My assessment is based on the timeline of public comments made. The reasoning is this:
    a) He spent some time unsubtly hinting that he had an official document which went to the heart of whether the Prime Minister had misled parliament. Malcolm Turnbull chose to state on the record that the Prime Minister is a lier, and that he (ie Turnbull) had the evidence to prove it. This all happened prior to the publication of the content of the evidence (ie the confabulated email, which at this point Turnbull clearly believed existed and was genuine). NOTE: Turnbull’s declaration that the Prime Minister was lying was made outsideof parliament, and is therefore not subject to “Parliamentary Privilege”. Furthermore, Turnbull did not say (at any point that I heard) “alleged email”; Turnbull was treating the email as validated evidence (ie as fact), in other words.
    b) Turnbull had the “dialogue” with Andrew Charlton (staff member in the PMO [Prime Minister's Office]), who at that time (Wed 17th June) had not been publically identified as the supposed author of the email. This establishes that Turnbull knew enough about the content of the email header to identify Charlton as the supposed author of the email. Certainly, Turnbull believed Charlton to be the author at that point in time.
    c)Turnbull baldly stated in an interview that the PM was lying, and must therefore resign. There were no qualifications in Turnbull’s statement.
    d)The Prime Minister, presumably on the basis of establishing that his PMO staffer, Andrew Charlton, hadn’t in fact written the document in question, passed the matter onto the AFP (Australian Federal Police). At this point, it was appropriate to do that, since the PM and by implication, Andrew Charlton, had been accused of committing criminal offences.
    e) The AFP discover a copy of the alleged email, and their IT forensic team determine that it is a confabulated document, and that construction of the confabulation took place within the Treasury.
    f) Malcolm Turnbull publically denies having possession of the (forged) email, and publically denies that any Liberal has had possession of the (forged) email.
    g) When it is pointed out that Eric Abetz, in the Friday 19th June interview of Godwin Grech, asked questions based upon knowledge of the content of the email, Malcolm Turnbull states in a radio interview that Abetz was reading it from the newspaper article.
    h) The newspaper wasn’t published until Sat 20th June; there is no way Eric Abetz was reading it from the newspaper, which implies he had another source.

    In summary, it seems to me that Malcolm Turnbull made an on-the-public-record statement that the Prime Minister was lying, and that he must consequently resign. Turnbull’s demand is based upon a fabricated email. Turnbull had not at that stage checked with the alleged author whether they had in fact written it. Eventually it is determined by the AFP to be a fabrication, just as the Prime Minister had consistently said on numerous occasions.
    Malcolm demanded that the PM resign on the basis of Turnbull’s claim that the PM was lying. The sole evidence he supposedly had was the fabricated email. Therefore we have Turnbull apparently committing the offence of [insert favourite legal term here] slandering a public officer of the crown. Reciprocally, it is Malcolm Turnbull who should resign on that basis himself.

    I won’t swear on a stack of Keith Martin Almanacs that I have the timeline perfectly correct, but I’m fairly sure it is. I’m merely presenting an argument as to why Malcolm Turnbull should, by his own moral construct, resign. Afterall, he has demanded as much from the Prime Minister.

    Any comments, flames, etc?

  76. June 23rd, 2009 at 11:10 | #76

    Neither Rudd nor Turnbull is “a public officer of the crown” (if either were, he would and should be automatically removed from Parliament). Those are and should be out of the kitchen and protected from facing this sort of heat. Rudd, however, is a Minister with further duties and obligations, which Turnbull is not; part of what he is there for is to be in the kitchen and face the heat, taking it off those others, so the mere fact that he gets heat is no objection. The test Turnbull has to meet is a good faith one (with rather low standards, because of all the issues behind parliamentary privilege – basically, there should be no “chilling effect” hindering parliamentarians from carrying out due scrutiny etc.), while Rudd has to meet at least one further test, of competence. So far, neither has been shown to have failed – but there isn’t a symmetry here.

  77. derrida derider
    June 23rd, 2009 at 15:30 | #77

    I agree with the bit about Grech’s strange behaviour. Getting an email from the PMO asking for a favour for an individual is the type of thing you would immediately copy and file and respond to by asking for explicit authority. Not to mention covering your back by making sure your superiors, including your own MO, knew about it. It is simply beyond belief that you would just delete the thing – that would risk you being made the scapegoat.

    Quite separately, though, Swan was stupid for getting involved in individual cases for a program that he must know has dodgy criteria and justification. This is not State politics, where such things are accepted. Even if it’s true that Grant was not the only case it is not a good look at all – I think he’s only been saved by the fake email affair.

  78. Chris Warren
    June 23rd, 2009 at 15:55 | #78

    One offence is creating a false document.

    A second offence is unauthorised release of material to journalists or whoever.

    The false email, if created in public service time using public service equipment, cannot legally be distributed outside the public service unless this is part of official duties.

    Grech and his associates (maybe ex staffer Peter Lindwell) are in d e e p sh*t.

    Where documents are shown to be deliberate fakes for political purposes, journalists and media businesses need to be searched as well.

  79. Kitchenslut
    June 23rd, 2009 at 16:30 | #79

    Thank you Alice for taking the bait and confirming my assessment of your psychological hubris! Confirmation bias would seem to be rampant with you unless you believe you have been blessed with divine (new age?) guidance? Do you keep KPI’s on your personality assessments?

    I have my own values however find myself ever stunned by the kind of partisan group-think tribalism which insists in stereotyping everything but which always fails to put me in a pigeon-hole they can understand or need. You, Alice are typical of this! Evil must equal Liberal …. ooooh aint they soooo bad!!! While we / I am sooooo GOOOOOOD!!

    Personally I will continue to defer to my fave philosopher Billy Connolly “seek the company of people trying to understand the question, avoid the company of people claiming to know the answer”. I will be avoiding insufferable bores such as yourself Alice!

  80. Kitchenslut
    June 23rd, 2009 at 17:01 | #80

    Without having looked back through the entire thread there does in entirely technical terms seem to be something odd here? Early on there was some discussion about the practicality of fabricating emails (which I posted didn’t seem to be too difficult for some).

    The consensus was that any genuine email could be traced on the Tresury servers and would be near impossible to delete except for an absolute IT guru. At the end of last week the official line was that they could find no evidence of any email after extensive searches. Now we are told that the AFP have found one written within Tresury and then forwarded to Grech’s home address? Question: Why didn’t the internal IT searches last week find that?

    I have learnt too much in recent years on the vagaries of life and the encroaching psychological difficulties associated with our maturing age to yet crucify Godwin Grech.

  81. jquiggin
    June 23rd, 2009 at 17:48 | #81

    KS, I was a bit puzzled by the email issue, but I offer the following. If Grech had access to a computer other than his own, and sent an email to his home address, with a spoofed source, before wiping it, a search for an email from the PM’s office to Grech would probably not show up.

    As a general warning, can everyone please avoid personal attacks.

  82. Donald Oats
    June 23rd, 2009 at 18:04 | #82

    Thanks P.M. Lawrence #26, I stand corrected concerning my error in #25 referring to the PM as a “public officer of the Crown”.

    One question I’ve got: what categories do various PMO staffers fall into? I seem to recall that our previous government’s PM tinkered a bit regarding that, so as to provide good insulation between PM and said staff. In the old days a stuff-up by someone in the minister’s office was accepted as the responsibility of the minister – by convention I assume. The previous PM and ministers didn’t accept that, IIRC.

  83. Monkey’s Uncle
    June 23rd, 2009 at 18:16 | #83

    The point about this email is that even without out it, the evidence against the government was significant. The fact that details relating to one application were being sent to Wayne Swan’s home fax is most unusual and suspicious.

    All the email has served to do is create a distraction from the other evidence, and Turnbull has ended up making himself the issue by taking the bait.

    The case against Turnbull seems exaggerated. Given that the email appears to have been created inside the department, it is not unreasonable for others to assume it was genuine.

  84. Alice
    June 23rd, 2009 at 18:19 | #84

    Suits me just fine Kitchenslut – stick your cheap (like name and nature) insults.

  85. Alice
    June 23rd, 2009 at 18:28 | #85

    Oh and no liberals arent all bad Kitchenslut but the moderates in the party have been drowned out by extremists (I would suggest at least ten years growing that way now). I have nothing aganist a decent liberal government but they lost the plot and half or more of Australia’s votes by hitting people over the head with workchoices, and doing stuff like denying climate change (ie being backward not progressive), stripping the public sector and foolishly thinking the market and private sector solves all problems. Thats not what they used to be like (More “conservative”) and any party can go to an extreme and they did it (and they play politics and spin and junk emails and the media, not policy).

    I dont hate the liberals Kitchenslut – thats what you dont get. I feel sorry for all those people who have been fooled into thinking the liberals stand for ethics and values.

  86. Donald Oats
    June 23rd, 2009 at 18:38 | #86

    And now that I’ve put more thought into it, P. M. Lawrence, I take your point that since Turnbull is not a minister, he can – shall we say – be economical with the truth in parliament and while it might tarnish his reputation, it is not necessarily the head on the chopping block offence that fairness should demand. For Kevin Rudd however, as a minister, for him to mislead or lie in parliament is to hear that axe dropping…but since he hasn’t (TTBIMK), he remains whole for now.

    Therefore only Swannie is at (smallish) risk of being toppled, so it seems.

    Oh, and possibly one public servant is on toilet scrubbing duties for the next X years, assuming his (tenuous) hold on his job doesn’t slip him by.

  87. June 23rd, 2009 at 18:40 | #87

    @jquiggin
    In the intelligence community these issues of provenance go back to at least the Zimmerman Telegram era. The issue there was that British Intelligence had obtained a copy through their channels, but could not use it directly to influence the USA. That is, they couldn’t simply hand over a secondary copy, as it would have been dubious from its source and would also have damaged Britain by showing how much Britain had penetrated areas in the USA that were under diplomatic protection. As I recall, Britain was able to track down a copy that had reached Mexico and was less well covered diplomatically, and was able to lead the USA to that without exposing British methods. I believe but cannot confirm that they used forged documents as part of laying the trail leading there.

    The provenance issue has created a related disinformation technique that goes back about that far: when something improper or damaging is about to come out, create and release your own forged evidence of the genuine facts (or of an exaggeration of them), then discredit it. People will often jump to the conclusion that spurious evidence proves the allegations were spurious, and that the forgery came from the other side since it appears to damage the first lot (without realising that the discrediting of the forgery was part of the scheme). In fact, all it shows is “insufficient evidence either way”. It is at least possible that these emails were of this nature.

    As I stated, this is actually an old and well established trick, so reminding people that it is in the repertoire isn’t simple ultra-paranoid conspiracy mongering. Asserting that this is what actually occurred rather than keeping an open mind either way pending more evidence – that would be going too far.

  88. Tony G
    June 23rd, 2009 at 18:53 | #88

    All Turnbull has done is regurgitated Swans bile.

    Swan is the treasurer and treasury is his department. As treasury is the source of the presumed fake email, Swan should be made to answer for it. While he is at it he can answer other questions about some of KRudd’s used car salesmen mates

  89. jquiggin
    June 23rd, 2009 at 19:02 | #89

    Good to see you keeping the side up, Tony, but I’d save it for the next leader if I were you.

  90. Michael of Summer Hill
    June 23rd, 2009 at 19:17 | #90

    John, whilst much has been said about ‘utegate’ and the ‘fake email’ my nose tells Godwin may not be the only public servant in Treasury caught up in the whole affair. And whilst Turnbull may have been wrong, by raising the stakes the Australian public are now a bit wiser as to what is going on within Treasury.

  91. Tony G
    June 23rd, 2009 at 19:47 | #91

    “save it for the next leader ”

    Funny you should mention that, as it seems KRudd and his used car salesmen mates are starting to exhibit the traits of a one term wonder.

  92. June 23rd, 2009 at 20:16 | #92

    Tony G,

    That is an absolutely fascinating, some would say loony , take on the email – that the fraudulent email, composed to attack Swan and Rudd, is actually Swans’ responsibility.

  93. Chris Warren
    June 23rd, 2009 at 20:18 | #93

    PMLawrence is covering for the Liberals.

    Who released their own forged evidence and then discredited it????????

    What on earth is this about?????????

    If allegations need evidence then clearly – if the evidence is spurious then QED the allegations are spurious.

    What bizarre track is Lawrence trying to follow ??????????

    What scheme was it, by who, that had intended to discredit the forgery ????????

    When was this intention formed ????????????

    When and what was this Lawrence called “something improper or damaging is about to come out” ???????????????

    When was this, what was this ??????????????????

    It appears Grech was Malcolm’s mole in the public service and Malcolm knew when he received official information by this back channel – he was receiving illegal information.

    Turnbull must now be charged with corruption, pure and simple.

  94. Alice
    June 23rd, 2009 at 20:27 | #94

    I agree Michael with your comment “my nose tells Godwin may not be the only public servant in Treasury caught up in the whole affair.”

    I fully agree…the email was “created in Treasury…sent to Grech’s home computer and then deleted from Treasury records. Either Grech is a patsy and they waited till he had a flexi day (and many public servants divert their emails) or he knew. It smells of politicised public servants and political public servants should be sacked. The public service should be apolitical.

  95. Chris Warren
    June 23rd, 2009 at 20:45 | #95

    They probably did find the email, but as it led in another more interesting direction, they did not publicly announce it.

    They just said no email to or from PMO’s office.

    Then followed the trail to Grech’s hideout.

  96. Alice
    June 23rd, 2009 at 20:56 | #96

    Well I wished the AFP traced that email from Treasury to Grech’s home computer…..and then from Grech’s computer to somehow being in Macolm Turbull’s hands before the media’s hands?. I have had enough of garbage accusations and media BS from either side about the other….can they just do the damn job of leading the damn country without the CR…….P?

  97. Kitchenslut
    June 23rd, 2009 at 22:06 | #97

    Oh dear! The Alice and Chris reality blog conspiracy show *yawn*

    I suspect at the time those most compulsively captivated are at their their peak in any event like this, that it’s passed and most of society has moved on already!? In fact …. they have moved on because of it?

    However isn’t obsessive compulsive behaviour interesting from whatever source and that is what we have here in the participants and the commentary!?

  98. Alice
    June 23rd, 2009 at 22:14 | #98

    Yeah Kitchenslut – what do you have to offer this discussion? Enlighten us!

  99. Alice
    June 23rd, 2009 at 22:19 | #99

    Kitchenslut just has the a bad case of bad loser syndrome. Doesnt like to see her favourite party exposed for what they do. Take the rose coloured glasses off Kitchenslut. It could be any party that acts like a bunch of dorks (and it just so happens this time it was the libs -same as that fake letterbox drop they spammed as being from the ALP) and they could and should be called on it (or is that too much for you to bear? Better go back to the kitchen and think about it).

  100. Chris Warren
    June 23rd, 2009 at 22:24 | #100

    Sorry Kslut, but the rest of the world disagrees with you.

    The ABC news (Chris Uhlmann) has provided an update, viz:

    The ABC has been told Mr Grech routinely provided the former Howard government with what has been described as “off-line” information about the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

    In the words of one Liberal, “he has been sympathetic to us for some time”.

    So the Liberals have been running a political agent inside the Government “for some time”.

    This ain’t UteGate any more – it’s Watergate.

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