Wednesday, June 24, 2009

You Can Tell A Lot About A Man By The Size Of His Palm Tree

By Darryl Mason

Sniggling, giggling Murdoch journalists "expose the private life" of Australia's most nervous public servant, Godwin Grech....well, if by expose they mean quoting neighbours talking about what a really nice, hard working, generous guy he is, then yes, consider Grech's private life exposed.

We could all do with having our private lives "exposed" in such flattering terms.

But what the fuck is up with these journos fixation with the palm tree in Godwin Grech's front yard?

...known for living in a house with a big and amusing palm tree in the front garden...

...the palm tree was planted before he moved in.

Are they trying to tell us something they're not legally, or ethically, allowed to say about Godwin Grech's private life?

And if Godwin Grech was attracted to his Canberra home because there's a massive phallic-shaped palm tree dominating the front yard, what the hell does that have to do with his possible involvement in e-mail fakery and a supposed mole leaking to Turnbull & Friends from inside the Treasury?

Well, nothing.

Neither Malcolm Turnbull, Wayne Swan or Kevin Rudd are likely to step down over this Ute & Emails related scandal now consuming five or six hours a day of sitting time in the Parliament, but somebody will have to pay.

It seems increasingly likely that somebody will be Godwin Grech, particularly now Liberal politicians, off the record, are trying to out Grech as 'The Mole' who the Australian Federal Police appear to believe has been leaking info to the Libs for years from inside the Treasury :

The Treasury official at the centre of the OzCar affair, Godwin Grech, has supplied unofficial information to the Coalition, dating back to its days in government, the ABC has learned.

The revelation lifts already intense pressure on Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull to explain how much he knew, and when, about the email forgery that has backfired so spectacularly.

Several Liberals have told the ABC they believe Mr Grech has been supplying information to Mr Turnbull, and one says he knows it to be the case. However, the nature of that information is not known.


The Australian Federal Police yesterday raided Mr Grech's home, uncovered the email and declared it a fake. They suspect Mr Grech was involved in creating it.

The ABC understands that Mr Grech will also be questioned about other leaks from Treasury.

The AFP has been "quietly watching Treasury for a while" and senior Government ministers are convinced there is at least one mole in the department.

If you think this Ute & Email related scandal has been nasty so far, you haven't seen anything yet.

Political careers are on the line, and the hysteria in Parliament will be even worse today, particularly after Joe Hockey's woeful, sweaty-lipped interview with Tony Jones on Lateline last night, where he demanded that journalists should reveal their sources if politicians like himself are expected to reveal theirs.

Tony Jones sliced up Hockey like sashimi, and it was only halfway during the interview, when the sweat began to concentrate on his upper lip and he had trouble swallowing, that Joe Hockey apparently realised that AFP officers would be watching Lateline and noting down his reaction to everything Jones hit him with about Liberal-friendly leakers inside the Treasury and his decade old association with Godwin Grech. And Jones hit with a lot (I'll come back to this when the transcript is up), but probably not everything Jones already knows. Why blow tonight's lead story on Lateline on an interview with Hockey?

Godwin Grech will not be sleeping easy.

Unlike prime minister Kevin Rudd, who is no doubt keeping his wife and neighbours awake with his endless, howling laughter at just how spectacularly, hilariously, this whole scandal has blown up in the face of Malcolm Turnbull.

Media Watch has a very short, but detailed, round up
of the scandal so far, focusing it as should on the one element most of the media has shied away from so far : the role of the media in this scandal, and in particular, Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

Correction : an earlier version of this story said Malcolm Farr was responsible for the Daily Telegraph piece about Godwin Grech's "amusing palm tree". He wasn't. The story's byline now reads 'By Janet Fife-Yeomans and Alison Rehn'.