Sitting here at work watching the proceedings of Senate Standing Committee Inquiry(R4100 Car Dealership Financing Guarantee Appropriation Bill 2009), which is by definition looking into the so-called misleading of Parliament by the Prime Minister in relation to lobbying on behalf of John Grant Motors.
The longer proceedings go on, the harder Messrs Abetz and Joyce attempt to put words in the mouths of Treasury functionaries Grech and Martine, the clearer this situation is becoming in regard to the fact that it’s a total non-event. Desperation is becoming evident, to the extent that Joyce is now implying that recordings of telephone conversations should be available for scrutiny in such cases.
On another level, it’s quite fascinating to watch the adversarial nature of such an inquiry, in particular the way the ‘prosecution’ side of the inquiry go about phrasing and asking their questions. It’s little wonder that senior public servants are paid as well as they are. The professionalism on display is among the best I have ever seen, particularly under duress. I’d recommend watching these type of proceedings to anyone with even a passing interest in the machinations of government.
Just what the Daily Telegraph or indeed, Malcolm Farr thinks they have on this issue remains a mystery. The more I watch this inquiry, the clearer it’s becoming that yet again, this is another prime example of a main stream media beatup on the basis of rumour & innuendo.
UPDATE: Well, over two-and-a-half hours later, the inquiry ended with Mr Grech undoubtedly one very rattled public servant. Martine, as the more senior of the two and the more ‘appropriate person’ to answer Abetz’s continual attenpts to put words in Grech’s mouth, was masterful to watch. Calm, collected, highly professional, he stuck to his line and rightly so. It was blatantly clear that the Opposition think they have something, or at least thought they had something, courtesy of the News Corporation journalist, Steven Lewis, the author of the innuendo articles in the Daily Telegraph today. It’s clear that Godwin Grech’s public service career is now most likely over. He stated that he believed he recalled a document from the Office of the Prime Minister in relation to Grant Motors, however that document does not exist, and if it did, what did it say? We’ll never know. Surely, if the Opposition had something with which to pin the government to the wall, they’d have produced the evidence. If Eric Abetz had something cogent to present to the inquiry this afternoon, surely he’d have presented it and shut down his fellow Senator, Doug Cameron who was irate at the continual badgering of the public servant. It never happened. It’s great theatre, but the reality looks as though that’s all the issue will ever be.