Utegate: it’s not the lobbying that’s dodgy, it’s the lying about the lobbying

June 20, 2009

Rudd hit by car scandal: SMH

With PM Kevin Rudd now in more than a little bit of trouble, the question comes down to will heads roll over the matter?

What I still find amusing is Rudd’s insistence that he doesn’t do favors for donors, when there would hardly been an MP or Senator past or present that hasn’t. Large donors to candidates rarely give out of the goodness of their hearts alone, but as a way to gain access, and on occasion for the odd favor or two. It’s the way the system has always worked and having worked in various capacities with Federal and State members, I’ve seen it first hand.

Of course there’s a big difference between making a representation on behalf of a donor who is also a constituent, and having the Prime Ministers Office, and Treasury Department intervene….that takes it to a whole new level.

However I’d argue that the issue isn’t so much that it happened, but Rudd denied it in Parliament and in the public arena. The validity of the email aside, it’s known fact that Treasury helped Rudd’s mate, how they got to that point may only be a matter of semantics.

But what next, because there’s no precedent that I can recall like this given it is more than just a case of misleading Parliament.

If it is just a case of misleading Parliament, Rudd gets a slap on the hand, but he all but loses the public’s trust.

If it’s more, could he be forced to resign?

I’m betting unlikely, but that’s without knowing if any laws were breached in terms of the lobbying to begin with. Maybe an abuse of office…. hard to say.

On the other side, Turnbull is playing high stakes poker and he may not win yet. But if Rudd is proven to have lied, the next election becomes a whole lot more interesting .

Update: of course Rudd has the numbers in the Rep, but this is isntereting (via Oz Politics)

Parliamentary Privileges Act 1987 which has limited and clarified the privilege and contempt powers of the Federal Parliament. Each House may impose penalties for contempt limited to imprisonment not exceeding six months for a person, or a fine not exceeding $5,000, or not exceeding $25,000 in the case of a corporation. It has also made the imposition of penalties subject to judicial review. This Act also prevents members of parliament from being expelled.

5 responses to Utegate: it’s not the lobbying that’s dodgy, it’s the lying about the lobbying

  1. it may be Mr Turnbull having to explain why he lied to parliament if there is no email, which at the moment looks very doubtful – interesting days ahead

  2. I think this is more serious:

    Someone's life depends on it. Keep yur word, Mr Rudd. Your statement is produced near the end of that video.

  3. Hey Duncan – have to concede that I'm not familiar with all the intricacies of this one, but how do you derive it being a 'known fact' that Treasury helped his mate? I would agree with anyone who says that proof of such actions would require the strongest possible action, but all that I'm aware of at the moment is an email that even the Opposition has not seen, and the testimony of a Treasury official whose own recollection is – by his admission – not entirely crystal clear. Also, at the moment the allegation is that the PMO assisted Rudd's mate, not the Treasury. Please correct me if I'm wrong on any of this. Fascinating set of developments, but potentially a storm in a teacup? Looking forward to finding out!

  4. It occurs to me that it could well be Malcolm Turnbull who is really the one being set up here.
    He is unforgivably naive to rant about this email, call for resignations, and then admit he has never even seen it!
    So, who wants his job now that Costello is no longer a danger?
    If I was Malcolm I'd be looking long and hard at the original source of this story (who he is not publically naming).

  5. thanks for the post =)