Email Smoking Gun Backfires in Face of Australian Leadership

23 Jun
June 23, 2009

Australian opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull is under pressure to resign after an email smoking gun used in the "Utegate" scandal against Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Treasurer Wayne Swan has proven to be a fake, according to Australian federal police.

The email, supposedly from the prime minister's office, asked for special financial assistance for the PM's friend and neighbor, Queensland car dealer John Grant.  The name "Utegate" was coined because the car dealer supposedly lent Rudd a utility vehicle — or 'ute' in Australian slang — for use in his constituency.

The opposition used this smoking gun email and put "unprecedented pressure" on the Prime Minister to explain his
role in the fiasco and Trumball demanded Rudd's resignation.  (AFP)  The sessions in Parliament were described as extremely noisy and rowdy. 

Godwin Grech, a
Treasury official, implicated Mr. Rudd at an inquiry into the planned government-backed
auto credit program on Friday.  He told lawmakers that he had been emailed by the prime minister's
office asking if John Grant's dealership would be able to
access the credit facility.  (Wall Street Journal)

Calls came from the opposition for the PM to resign.

But, things took an unusual turn yesterday. —- The police searched the home and work computers of Godwin Grech.

“Preliminary results of those forensic examinations indicate that the
email referred to at the centre of this investigation has been created
by a person or persons other than the purported author of the email,”
the AFP said in a statement.  In other words, the email was a fake.

Did Trumball know the email was a fake?  Now, the tables are turned.

“This email is a fraud, it is a fake, it is a fabrication. Therefore
my own judgment is that Mr Turnbull’s got no option . . . but to do the
honorable thing, apologize and resign. He does not have the character
to occupy the highest office in the land,” said Mr Rudd said on Channel 9 in Australia.

Trumball responded:

"It was not created or composed by us," Turnbull told public radio.
"If it is a fake, as is apparently the case, it was a fake that was
created in the Treasury … "Now how on earth can I be responsible for a fake that is created in (Treasurer Wayne) Swan's department?"

The investigations are scheduled to continue.  I can't wait to find out how the email was forged.

1 reply
  1. John Snelson says:

    Godwin – it’s anglo-saxon. It means “friend of god”, derived from Old English god combined with wine meaning “friend”.

    What have we here, though ? Godwin, a friend of “God” ? Well, only if God is Malcolm Turnbull.

    Godwin Grech is not a real “whistleblower”. He’ll sleep with any one who’s anyone in the Opposition ! He’s in bed with with Malcolm. He is providing aid to the Coalition. He’s been aiding and abetzing.

    Genuine whistleblowers are concerned public servants who cannot get their issues addressed within their own departments or structures, and refer their worries to either the Ombudsman, Auditor-General or other central agency within their own domain and jurisdiction.

    What they should NOT do, is to go to the political Opposition as the first point of call, carrying a hit list of suggested questions and offering themselves on the altar of a Senate Inquiry.

    Look here, let’s get this right – the gullible Godwin, is a failed and dishonest Public Servant who should be sacked, not a senior, respected officer of the nation’s public service who attracts the protection of any whistleblower legislation.


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