Posts Tagged ‘Utegate’

Re the Utegate farce: the Auditor-General reported on Treasury’s role and its senior policy wonk & leak Gollum Grechen, uncovering shortfalls in departmental security procedures. Apparently GG’s failing physical and mental health could have been detected by an expired national security clearance (Verona Burgess, AFR August 07). Designated second-top level as ‘secret’, it required the return of a ‘vetting pack’, which GG failed to do for almost a year.

Now, the clever tools of trade used by authors of this ‘pack’, no doubt organisational psychologists, are not to be coughed at, but the thought of a subversive inside agent possiby falsifying his return does exercise the imagination.  This ‘negative vetting’ checks honesty, trustworthiness, maturity, tolerance, loyalty and vulnerabilities in relation to external loyalties, influences and associations; personal relationships and conduct; financial considerations, alcohol and drug usage; criminal history and conduct; security attitudes and violations; and mental health disorders.

Imagine this comprehensive aid to organisational fitness applied to honourable members of our houses of parliament! The colour and character of our legislatures would be irrevocably changed and scary: politicians who are honest, trustworthy, mature and tolerant, not to mention invulnerable to external influences or drug & alcohol usage. The mind boggles!

The A-G’s report also found that Treasury basically mismanaged implementation of the Ozcar $2 billion bail out of car dealers, through poor handling of financial advisers, contracting and documentation. Naturally the government preferred to focus on the opposition and its leader, rather than Treasury’s failings, and the media meekly followed that lead. Let’s hope Treasury secretary Ken Henry applies more diligence to his review of the country’s taxation system.


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Federal Liberal Party leadership is normally not worthy of KC scrutiny, with more important issues to report, like Kookynie council elections and the new baby kangaroo health centre. But the flagrant unsuitability of Malcolm Turnbull and other Liberal lights as potential PM cannot be ignored.

The main problem with Turnbull is not only his lack of principles, policy and poor political judgement, but also cynical opportunism and posturing which reflect his character. Electors do not find it endearing or trustworthy, with his lawyer’s demeanour and constant negative spin. The ongoing Utegate debacle confirms this. Unlikeable and lacking the common touch, punters will not go for him. The lamentable apologia (disgraceful for ABC) and attempt to humanise Turnbull by portraying his difficult early upbringing in ‘Australian Story’ is further proof of this opportunistic mindset.

Alternatives also lack crediblity and popular appeal. In the same way that Peter Costello was not seen as PM material by the voters, despite all the articles and books written on that subject. His smirking visage did not inspire confidence or trust. Its not about policy or politics, but simply human nature that some people do not connect with the masses….viscerally or chemically!

Tony Abbott, known as The Mad Monk, or People Skills presumably because of his lack of them, is also not an alternative PM. His aggressive, carping character is unnerving and punters do not warm to him. Joe Hockey plays a jovial, avuncular role par excellence but lacks stature and gravitas for the top political job.

Further analysis of the ranks of Liberal Party hacks suitable for the leader’s guernsey does not throw up any hidden gems. So unfortunately the benefit of a strong alternative PM candidate and effective opposition in keeping the government under pressure is lost, giving Rudd’s team free rein.

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Imagine if Kevin Rudd owned TV stations 7, 9 & 10 (and controlled news on ABC & SBS), The Australian & Age newspapers, Australian Consolidated Press and Brisbane Bulldogs rugby league team.

Imagine also that he had been charged with tax fraud, false accounting, attempting to bribe a judge and embezzlement. And that all this had been going on for years, but Kevin was re-elected for a third term. And instead of a one-time visit to a New York strip club, he had a string of liaisons with call girls baying for his blood.

If this boggles the imagination, then check out PM Berlusconi’s track record and latest shenanigans. Yeah I know, this isn’t Italy and I do wonder what Italy’s opposition has to say about it all. But here in our little Aussie battler parliament, Her Majesty’s Opposition spends a week trying to force the PM’s resignation over corruption for accepting the use of an old ute for his election campaign. 

Holden_FJ[1]How shameful for Australia’s image on the international scene to have such a bogan scandal dominate our headlines, particularly as nobody outside of this country has any idea what a ute is. Surely we could find some world class corruption like the AWB Iraq scandal to get serious again.   

Malcolm Turnbull’s miscalculation and naive gamble on Gollum’s hiss and paltry email is pathetic, and the Mad Monk’s defence just compounds a very bad look.

Silvio outguns our entire political class for real style and nonchalance: ‘la bella figura’ incarnate.

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GG Comes Out!

No, Governors-General do not make headlines, thank God (i.e. Gough).

Godwin Grech (his parents had a sense of humour) thinks he remembers an email from ‘PMO’ about the PM’s car dealer mate. Would you believe he’s referring to the Prime Minister’s Office, a lovely conceit indeed. Imagine the oak desk and chairs having a meeting and issuing instructions to the computer?

Bureaucratic shorthand and evasion were matched by low insults traded in the people’s parliamentary chamber in the nation’s capital. The Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition, The Right Honourable Malcolm Turnbull, looked particularly dodgy about his prior knowledge of said email, now shown to be false and in fact produced in Treasury’s office. Now we’re getting Machiavellian. The car dealer’s mates in high places also looked uncomfortable. Unfortunately giving them all a lie detector test would probably be fruitless. And of course, car dealer sounds so much worse than wheat farmer or kindergarten assistant.

Arguments about emails look so juvenile. The plot already reads like a third rate pot-boiler with police raids and IT audits (wow) to spice it up. Meanwhile Rome (the planet) burns, as does GG’s public service career.


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