A day/week/month in politics is a long time, as the hackneyed phrase goes. Godwin Grech isn’t – or wasn’t until Friday – involved in politics. He certainly is now. I’m at a complete loss to understand the motivation of a career public servant to involve himself in the muck and mire of politics. To all accounts, the man had (past tense now) a promising 20 year engagement in various public service posts from Treasury to Joe Hockey’s office, to Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet and back to Treasury. Various media implications of crushed toes along the way, but surely that’s part and parcel of any workplace, not just in the Commonwealth public service.
I notice in one precis of Grech’s persona is commentary on his supposed economic ideology, in that he’s a market forces true believer. Extrapolate from that what you will in regard to his political ideology, however, I return again to the motivation for wanting to risk a valuable and respected career by playing the part of snoop, forger and spy for one side of politics or another. Godwin Grech is either very stupid, very gullible or feels to have been very, very wronged in some form. For someone to have risen as he has, and survived more the point, in the Commonwealth public service to willingly and with malice aforethought to have engaged in subterfuge as it is supposed he has simply beggars the imagination. Ideologues are not reknown for commonsense but I don’t see Grech as an ideologue. I also don’t regard him as the machiavellian actor he’s been portrayed as in at least one quarter I’ve come across. His performance during Friday’s Senate Inquiry, I believe, was genuine. Genuine distress. He’d done something and was visualising it unwinding before him.
And who was in on whatever has transpired? Eric Abetz clearly wasn’t, judging by the attack-dog treatment of Grech during Friday’s inquisition. Or perhaps he was. Let’s not forget that Abetz had the text of the now proven fraudulent email in his hands. Clearly, he didn’t know it was a fake, and he went for Grech without hesitation. The coalition believed they had something and were intent on using it. If a public servant was hit in the crossfire, then that was simply collateral damage. A necessary sacrifice of a Pawn on the way to checkmating the King.
Either way, and regardless of the ultimate outcome of this fraca, it’s all good theatre. Magnificent media fodder, momentous speculation and vivisection of the ‘habenae apparatus’ for inspection by the unwashed masses who put it there. At the very least, we now all know how OzCar was intended to operate. Does Wayne Swan have questions to answer? As much as I’m not a Swan fan, I don’t personally believe he’s stupid enough to have done what he’s accused of doing in favouring certain motor vehicle dealers. Would you, dear reader, risk your political career for a car salesman? More pointedly the principal question should be, ‘Would you, as a career public servant, risk your 20 year career for a politician?’ Buggered if I would, but then, we don’t know what the ultimate motivation was. That’s the real question.