Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
ABC News Breakfast -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) do is to be as transparent as I

have been and answer the

questions. The opposition frontbencher Tony Abbott says

the government has been

ferocious in its attempt to

provide a smokescreen to cover

Wayne Swan in the affair of

the. He joins us now from

Canberra. Good morning. What we

saw there was Wayne Swan saying

"Yes, I did speak with John

Grant, I spoke with others but

I won't name them." Well, he

didn't speak with others. He

spoke with John Grant. And

sure, there were two other car

dealers that got some extra

attention, no doubt about that,

but there was 240 car dealers

who were affected by the

collapse of General Motors

Finance and GE Finance. Now, Mr

Grant, the Prime Minister's

mate, got special treatment

from the government. There's

absolutely no doubt about that.

And there's absolutely no doubt

that Wayne Swan has misled the

Parliament. And that's what the

opposition has been saying all

week. And as the week draws to

a close, the opposition's case

against the Treasurer is

watertight. On the other side

of the coin, reports in News

Limited papers this morning

that Malcolm Turnbull met with

Godwin Grech in the days

leading up to the Senate

hearing, along with Eric

Abetz. And so what? If a

politician talks to a public

servant and a public servant

talks to a politician? Well so

gha? It's suggested that the

email was cited at that

meeting. There is Eric Abetz

meeting with Godwin Grech a

public servant. Days later he

is the key witness at a Senate hearing. Well, it's a small

town, Canberra, Barrie, and

there is inevitably going to be

contact between public servants

and politicians. Now, I don't

think there is anything

necessarily sinister about

politicians and public servants

having a discussion and all

this talk about how evil leaks

are - as Malcolm Turnbull said

last night, Wayne Swan and

Kevin Rudd have lived off

leaks. Wayne Swan put out a

succession of press releases

when he was in opposition

boasting about the leaks he was

getting from inside government

circles. Doesn't this go way

beyond the history of leaks?

Eric Abetz with Godwin Grech,

may have cited the email, then

a couple of days later he

quotes from that email before a

Senate inquiry? Well, the

email in question, or the

purported email in question,

had been provided, it seems, to

a journalist who then was

talking to Eric Abetz. Maybe

this a matter for the privileges committee to look

at? Well, look, anyone can

refer something, any member of

Parliament can refer something

to a privileges committee but

let me just make this point:

the government is hyper

ventilating about the fake

email because the real emails

are so damaging to it. What the

real emails reveal is a

Treasurer who's misled the Parliament, a Prime Minister

who's been at the very least

loose with the truth and a

culture of crony capitalism

where your success in business

does not depend upon doing a

good job, but it depends on

privileged access to members of

the government. Now, this is,

I'm afraid, the developing way

of the Rudd Government, and it

is going to be disastrous for

our country. Let's go back to

this email, though. Did you or

anybody else in opposition warn

Malcolm Turnbull not to use

this email? Well, I mean, I

had nothing to do with the

so-called email but I make this

point: given the testimony of Godwin Grech Godwin Grech on the Friday

afternoon, no Opposition Leader

in history would've gone out

and make something of it. The

Opposition Leader would've

needed to have been on Mogadon

not to have made something of

that explosive sworn

testimony. Have you got a

longer-term problem in terms of

a discipline on your side of

politics? You had the right

were unhappy, some of them w the alcopops decision and now

the left have broken away on

the immigration Bill? Look, we

have lots of pretty frank

debates inside our party. In

opposition, that's what's

happened. It's good to have

frank debates, particularly in

opposition, but we have also a

tradition of freedom in our

party, Barrie. We don't have

the sort of Stalinist approach

to dissent which characterises

the Australian Labor Party, and

I think all we're seeing now is

the kind of liberal debate that

you'd expect would characterise

our party and opposition. Is

part of the problem because

Malcolm Turnbull has been

distracted he hasn't been able

to crack the whip? As I said,

we're not much into whip

cracking on our side of the Parliament and don't forget

that this particular issue, and

indeed, these particular

members, had the same sorts of

views and did the same sorts of

things when John Howard was our

leader. At the end of the week

now, the last sitting day,

would a truce be a good idea?

Would you be prepared to say to

the government, OK, you lay off

Malcolm Turnbull and we'll lay

off Wayne Swan? Well, I just

make this point, Barrie: Opposition Leaders calling for

the resignation of Prime

Ministers are just doing their job. But Prime Ministers

calling for the resignation of

Opposition Leaders looks

slightly hysterical. And

certainly I think that Kevin

Rudd has a job to do, to run

the country. He's not doing it

very well if the genuine emails

on the OzCar issue are any

guide and I think he should get

back to his job. Just finally

given the sort of week we've

just had, do you think the

government will now do

everything in its power to try

to engineer an early election?

Well, if they do, good luck to

them. The fact is that

oppositions are always, in a

sense, looking for an election

because an election is our big

chance to become a government.

I think the public, though,

expect the government to get on

with the job of running the

country, not to play petty

party politics, and I think

that what we're getting from

the government at the moment is

just party politics. Tony