Ute-gate - The Substantive Issue

A mid all the allegations and counter-claims, the call for resignations and searches for leaked emails, one thing is absolutely clear: if either the Treasurer or the Prime Minister has misled the Parliament they should resign.

That is the substantive issue on which I believe the entire ‘Ute-gate’ affair will hinge.

The prima facie case against the Treasurer in particular is a strong one. After initially claiming that his office had referred hundreds of applicants to the Treasury official responsible, it appears that one particular application was given ‘special treatment’.

The fact that this particular dealer sold a car to Mr Swan and gave one to Mr Rudd to use as a mobile campaign office establishes that a previous relationship existed between the three individuals concerned. In itself, this wouldn’t appear to be a problem as I understand the appropriate declarations were made in accordance with the requirements of the Parliament.

However, the information provided by the treasury official responsible for the funding program differs markedly from Mr Swan’s comments in Parliament. It would also appear that the physical evidence does not offer support to Mr Swan’s claims.

The diversion proffered by Mr Rudd, challenging Malcolm Turnbull to produce an email leaked to a journalist, is a red herring. It has little, if any, relevance to the debate save as an attempt by the Labor Party to obfuscate Ute-gate in the national media.

Accountability for what is said in Parliament is central to the Westminster system. If indeed Mr Swan is found to have misled the Parliament, he should resign; nay he must resign, to ensure the integrity of Australian democracy.

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