EDITORIAL TUESDAY 04.08.09.
The man at the centre of the so called “utegate” scandal, Treasury official Godwin Grech, has made front page news once again, this time with his admission that it was he who manufactured the infamous fake email. He still insists that there really was an email, which nobody else ever saw, and which nobody has ever been able to find, but that because it had gone missing he made up a replacement. He also admits that after a period of some months between the alleged original email and the creation of his replacement his recollection of the exact wording may be faulty, yet he insists that the tone and intent of the message is accurate.
As Mr. Grech is currently accommodated in a psychiatric facility it is probably safe to assume that his state of mind may not be at its best. The feeble attempts to defend his actions seem to indicate a lack of awareness of the seriousness of the matter, although he does admit to an “error of judgment”. However the fact is that material purported to be physical evidence has been manufactured, and subsequently used in attempt to discredit a Prime Minister to such an extent that he would be forced to resign. The scale of the potential impact could not be more enormous.
Liberal party members have defended Malcolm Turnbull by claiming that he was duped by the deception, and he too is a victim of the “utegate” affair, despite his obvious role as an instigator of much of the drama which unfolded. Some have claimed that it was Godwin Grech who sought the meeting at which the offending email was discussed, and that Mr. Grech actually put forward questions for the opposition to use in the Parliament. Even if that is true, Mr. Turnbull can not escape responsibility for enthusiastically embracing the plot to bring down a Prime Minister.
On the one hand the role of Godwin Grech must be examined, and the question asked as to why a public servant might be seeking to serve an opposition political party rather than the public. But on the other hand, it should also be asked why a political party should not only embrace such an approach but apparently encourage it. While we should suspect that various forms of subterfuge are not uncommon in politics, it is disappointing to think that the brightest brains of the Liberal Party have found themselves caught out by becoming embroiled in such duplicitous activity.
To cap it all off, the Auditor General’s investigation has now cleared both the Prime Minister and the Treasurer of any misconduct of any kind in relation to the Ozcar scheme, and the used car dealer John Grant. The only evidence of any kind which was ever produced was a fabrication which was created by the same man who was at the source of the allegations in the first place. That man now appears to be in a fragile state of mind, and his motivation is uncertain.
The bottom line however is that while Malcolm Turnbull may have been the victim of deception, many will say that the deception itself is enough to indicate that Mr. Turnbull’s judgment has been found so deficient that he should not be leader. Even so, he will not be replaced at this time because yet another leadership change for the Liveral Party now would actually be more damaging than keeping him on. At least for now.