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Early Agenda -

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AM Agenda

5 August 2009

Ashleigh Gillon: Welcome back to AM Agenda, I'm Ashleigh Gillon. Well, the Treasury official,
Godwin Grech, at the centre of the OzCar Affair admits he faked the e-mail. The Prime Minister and
the Treasurer have now both been cleared of any wrong doing and the Opposition Leader Malcolm
Turnbull admits that the evidence he used in his attack against the pair was based on false
information, but this OzCar Affair is far from over. This morning the Prime Minister is demanding
Malcolm Turnbull provide all correspondence he had with Godwin Grech and he says Mr. Turnbull
should resign.

'inaudible'

Ashleigh Gillon: We'll try and bring you what Mr. Rudd had to say this morning when we can get that
for you but for now joining me on our panel of politicians, the Labor Parliamentary Secretary Jason
Clare, good morning.

Jason Clare: Good morning, Ashleigh.

Ashleigh Gillon: And the Liberal frontbencher, Scott Morrison, good morning to you.

Scott Morrison: G'day, Ashleigh.

Ashleigh Gillon: Scott Morrison, how do you think Malcolm Turnbull has come out of this? Yesterday
we saw him give an exhaustive 45 minute press conference but when he was asked what he regretted
about this whole affair, he said, well, he regrets ever meeting Godwin Grech, but that seem to be
about it?

Scott Morrison: Well, I don't think that's exactly what happened. I mean, look, journalists may
want to be looking for their Doctor Phil moment over all of this, but the facts are these, we've
had an Auditor General's inquiry, we've had a Federal Police inquiry. All of these issues have now
been gone over in fine detail and the results has been outlined and frankly I think it's time to
move on, I think the public have had a gutful of this whole issue, and for the Prime Minister now
to be trying to continue to pursue this thing, purely political motives, I think, puts it-makes it
very hard I think for the Australian public to have any sort of serious support for a Prime
Minister who just wants to, you know, drag this out for his own political motives. I mean, they
want him running the country, and not going and chasing after things that have clearly run their
course. This matter has run its course, Godwin Grech faked the e-mail. That is clear. Godwin Grech
was the one who enthusiastically pursued the Opposition over this matter and raised these things.
We even had Michelle Grattan on ABC Radio this morning say that if this information had been
presented to her, she would have accepted it. So look, I think the matter's come to a conclusion
and it's time for everybody to move on.

Jason Clare: But Scott, in the interest of transparency, should Malcolm Turnbull release all
correspondence he ever had with Godwin Grech?

Scott Morrison: Look, I think these sorts of calls from the government are really quite ridiculous.
I mean, you've got to remember, this was a Prime Minister who in Opposition accused half the
frontbench in particular the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister of financing terrorism. We
then had a Royal Commission which exonerated all of those ministers and there was never an apology,
and there was never any tabling of documents or anything of this from the then Opposition and now
the Prime Minister. So look, I think it's time for the Prime Minister to move on, I certainly know
the Australian people want to move on. This has been a very sorry matter, and at the end of the
day, a quite unbelievable matter. I mean, as Malcolm said, I mean, if this was a fiction it
wouldn't be credible, and so it's time to move on.

Ashleigh Gillon: Jason, Malcolm Turnbull admits that he was duped. How was he to have known that
Godwin Grech was making all of this up? Wouldn't any Opposition Leader have jumped, on the surface,
might have looked like pretty solid information?

Jason Clare: Well, I don't think any Opposition Leader would. Some previous Opposition Leaders have
made that point that you do need to interrogate the evidence. So, remember, Malcolm Turnbull used
to be a barrister and his job was to interrogate people, work out right from wrong, and work out
fact from fiction, but he didn't do that. He jumps to conclusions and as soon as the Senate
Inquiry's evidence came about, he called a press conference and he called for the Prime Minister's
head, and now we know why he was so quick to act, why he was so rash in his judgement, because he
knew the answers to the questions that Godwin Grech was going to give in that inquiry before the
questions were even asked, so what we now see, what's been revealed over the last 24 hours, is that
there was a sham inquiry put together by Godwin Grech and Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party
where questions were put together in advance and answers were put together in advance. We don't
know whether there was coaching of witnesses, but there is a real risk that there's been a contempt
to the Senate. Now if this approach had been adopted in court, then there would have been a
contempt of court, Malcolm Turnbull would be in a lot of trouble. That's why the government
believes that there are more questions that need to be answered.

Ashleigh Gillon: Scott Morrison, do you think there is a chance that Malcolm Turnbull and Eric
Abetz have treated the Senate with contempt?

Scott Morrison: Well, what I find interesting is this. If there is any Senator, if there's any,
particularly, any government minister, particularly while in Opposition or even government, are
going to tell me that they have never had a discussion with a department official prior to a Senate
Inquiry, particularly ministers talking to their departmental officials in advance of estimates
hearings and things of this matter, then they should put their hand up. I think, you know, what we
are seeing here is the government trying to pursue the politics of this matter and I think what the
government needs to do is get back to governing the country and move on. If the government's
serious about bringing forward some reference for the Senate to consider in terms of a reference to
privileges, then I'll be interested to see if they are actually going to talk to the Opposition
about that and see if they can put it in a way which would alleviate any concerns that the
Opposition might reasonably have that this is just another political opportunity for the
government, and if they are not prepared to talk to the Opposition about that and just ram it
through as a stunt, well, I think the government's motives will be truly exposed.

Ashleigh Gillon: But Scott, if it is found that Malcolm Turnbull or Eric Abetz did treat the Senate
with contempt, are their careers on the line over this do you think?

Scott Morrison: Well, I think that's quite a leap, Ashleigh. I mean, at the moment we don't have a
reference, there's no suggestion that any such case would be upheld so I think you know, what we
need to look at next is what is the government going to put up in terms of a reference. Are they
going to talk to the Opposition about that reference or are they going to try and use it as a
political stunt and I suspect they are going to try and use it as a stunt, because the Prime
Minister wants to just to drag this out for as long as he can to try and pursue the politics. He
should run the country.

Ashleigh Gillon: Jason Clare, it does sound like the government's really looking for more political
blood over this, wanting heads to roll?

Jason Clare: Well, this is a case that shows Malcolm Turnbull doesn't have the judgement or the
character to be the Prime Minister of Australia. Six weeks ago when Parliament sat, Malcolm
Turnbull refused to say whether he even met with Godwin Grech, and yesterday it has been revealed
that he had. He also refused when he was asked to say whether he had even seen the e-mail. Now it's
been revealed that he had, and Godwin Grech has said that he was put under great pressure to reveal
that information to Malcolm Turnbull. Question now is what else don't we know? What else don't we
know and a Senate Inquiry would show that. Now if Malcolm Turnbull's got nothing to hide, then he
will let this inquiry occur. But if he uses his numbers in the Senate to stop this inquiry once
again, well, it will go to his culpability. If he's got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to
fear.

Ashleigh Gillon: Scott Morrison, how is the government planning to approach that? Will you let that
go ahead using your numbers in the Senate?

Scott Morrison: Well, as I said before. We haven't seen what the reference terms are, and we would
want to be assured that this is not just some political stunt from the government, and I think that
is what we are going to see from the government. A political stunt to try and drag this issue out
and I don't think that's what the public wants to see. We've had a police investigation. We've had
an Auditor General's inquiry. I mean this thing has been drilled more than North Sea Gas or Oil.
So, look, this matter I think has come to a conclusion and it's time for everyone to move on.

Ashleigh Gillon: Scott, if feels like we do talk about Malcolm Turnbull's leadership every week.
The fact there seems to be a question mark over and has been for so long isn't great for the party.
Is it just that there is a lack of options and that's what keep-what is keeping Mr. Turnbull in his
position?

Scott Morrison: No. The reason Malcolm Turnbull is in the position of the Leader of the Opposition,
is because he has the strength of leadership and he has the vision for the country that can take
our country forward and take our party forward. That's why people put him into this position. He is
a very authentic politician. He is someone who calls it as he sees it. He is not the sort of
confected conscript of a Labor machine which is what we see in the Prime Minister, someone who has
been exposed time and again for frankly being a bit of a phoney when it comes to issues. This is a
very authentic person. He's not what you'd call a typical politician, and in many ways he's very
much an anti-politician and I think the public look for that sort of sincerity and authenticity in
public life.

Ashleigh Gillon: I just want to get your opinion on something we saw happen last night. The former
Prime Minister John Howard has given a speech saying that he thinks that the media trivialised and
basically misunderstood Pauline Hanson by focusing on what many saw as racist policies. Jason
Clare, what do you make of those comments?

Jason Clare: I didn't see those comments. But in relation to Malcolm Turnbull first, can I say the
Liberal Party's got a problem here. Malcolm Turnbull's a little bit like airline food. Not much
good, but they've got no other choice and that's why they'll have to stick with Malcolm Turnbull.
If Peter Costello was still in the race, you can bet there'll be a leadership challenge right now,
and I'd probably be winning the bet I had with Scott a couple of weeks ago. In relation to Pauline
Hanson, I think that any fair-minded person would say that John Howard should have acted quicker
and not accept racist and xenophobic comments. We live in a country that we do now because of the
failure of the former Prime Minister to stand up for things that are right and decent when he
should have.

Ashleigh Gillon: Scott Morrison, were you surprised to see those comments from the former PM last
night?

Scott Morrison: Look, I'd say this. Just like Utegate, I think the issues of One Nation are very
much in our past and I'm very thankful that they are. I think that chapter is closed and I think
most Australians would be very pleased about that.

Ashleigh Gillon: Okay. Scott Morrison, Jason Clare, we've run out time. Thanks for joining us this
morning.

Jason Clare: Thanks, Ashleigh.

Scott Morrison: Thanks, Ashleigh.

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