August 5, 2009

And Malcolm's excuse was ... ?

Malcolm Turnbull is looking and sounding almost as repellent as Kyle Sandiland & Jackie O.

He's even pulling what could be describe as the Sandy-land defense: er, gee, I didn't know, butter wouldn't melt in my mouth, I'm a great and lovable guy ... blah, blah, blah.

Whatever his employment fate may be (I'm betting a quiet redundancy from Treasury), I think we can all agree that Utegate was, for all intents and purposes, the outcome of what turned out to be Godwin Grech's total breakdown; the final manifestations of a man deeply depressed.

It's safe to suggest that Godwin behaved in an uncharacteristically irrational, even absurd, manner. Behavior that he is intelligent enough to have recognised fairly immediately as being, well, a little bit out on the edge.

Recall, if you will, his high-strung appearance in front of the Senate Committee.
What we know now goes a long way to explaining that show stopping, nerve-racking performance.

So that's Godwin covered. His career, his life's work, is shot to hell and his mental health is precarious.

The best we can do is wish him well, hope he recovers and regains a life with some measure of fulfillment after Treasury.

But we're still left with the scoffing, dismissive, ugly visage of Malcolm Turnbull.

What was his excuse for his behaviour, his schenanigans?

None of it was appropriate coming from the leader of the opposition, or any senior politician.

None of it.

Any takers for the job of leader of the Liberals?

Hands up?


Didn't think so.

I'm Grech's victim says Turnbull

How a smoking-gun email went up in flames

Grech being properly looked after: Rudd


  1. Yeah, he's a dead duck if you ask me. He really hasn't come out of this well.

  2. One might well question the mental state of the wretched Gretch. I cannot though, for the life of me, see him as some sort of Treasury Gollum wandering about with the "precious" - the faked email. It wasn't all concocted in some fevered little vacuum existing in Gollum Gretch's brain. He had to have - at the very minimum - encouragement. He had to believe that this fractured fairytale would fly. All of which was provided by the credulous Abetz and the pathetically grasping Turnbull.

    If all that Turnbull can come up with is regret that he was misled then he is an extremely poor excuse for an alternate PM. Much misleading there was and it was not all down to the odd Mr Gretch.

    Is there a term for mutual misleading that one can use on a family friendly blog??

  3. Malcolm, is, to coin an old hollywood saying "box office poison"

    The sooner the Libs dump him the better.

    Unfortunately, (as has been suggested this morning)I don't see Andrew Robb as being a suitable replacement.

    Sheesh, they haven't much to go with, have they Caz?

    And to think that we will have to put up with that nerdy, narcissistic, megalomaniacal twit and his cliche ridden essays for years to come!!!

    Fair suck of the sav..
    Or .. would that be the sauce bottle?

    To put it another way... Can I just say, it looks like we're going to be stuck in the fuckin' woods for sometime to come...


  4. L.E - I've always had the sense, never abandoned, that Turnbull was destined to fail as a pollie.

    It has long been my thought that he is so embedded in his legal / private sector training, and spent all of his adult life in that alternate environment, that he never fully grasped what he was getting into when he made the switch.

    The nuances of party politics, not to mention the nuances of public service and parliament are beyond his ken. I don't believe he has ever considered that his persona, his way of being as a barrister in the private sector - and a very rich one - was in any way at odds with the persona and tactics required for politics. Certainly running the country isn't the same as have a run-in with Kerry Packer. All lost on Turnbull though. He has a bit of tin ear. Just my opinion, of course, but everything he does plays out to the tune of the wrong drum.

    Father - yes, the undefined "pressure" that Grech was under did, at the time, and with subsequent information, seemingly stem from extraordinary and/or unusual sources. Hardly the everyday pressures experienced in the public service by a senior executive.

    "He had to believe that this fractured fairytale would fly. All of which was provided by the credulous Abetz and the pathetically grasping Turnbull.

    Indeedy-doo. Well put.

    Kath - I see an Abbott in the offing ...

    By amazingly happy coinky-dink, his book has just been published, offering a rare cohesive narrative to unite conservatives across the land. At least no one could complain that they have no clue what he stands for - no guessing games there, no multiple personalities or amorphous visions.

  5. I see an Abbott in the offing ... no multiple personalities or amorphous visions

    Oh indeed, indeed. If John Howard was - as represented - a throwback to the picket fence and nuclear family (only) age then this bloke is a cold warrior of the socio-religious reactionaries of the sixties of whom he is a devoted disciple.

    One can only imagine what vision he has for Australia

  6. Andrew Robb would be a suitable baby-sitter Kath, until the party figures out what the hell to do for the rest of the century.

    Which is precisely the problem. Everyone would know that Robb was the warm-up guy, not intended to be remembered, just keep the crowd happy, until the star turns up. In other words, not credible as someone to lead the party into an election.

    But, heck, perhaps he would warm to the role and surprise everyone? Weirder things have happened. It's sometimes the case that people live up to a role against all expectations. It's those from whom natural leadership is expected who sink to the occasion.

    Whatever happens, Turnbull was dead in the water the second he shat on Godwin from a supercilious and belligerent height.

    There has never been a more sympathetic public servant turned-bad than the straight-from -central-casting Godwin Grech.

    For Turnbull, there will be no recovery.

  7. Like you Caz, I never ever thought that Malcolm would cut the mustard...

    He's an arrogant bastard who doesn't have a clue!
    Just has'nt the common touch that Rudd has! (rolls eyes)

  8. I don't know why, but I find him quite likeable, for a rich barrister.

  9. His major political problem, is, unfortunately, dissent within the ranks about AGW. This is problematic: it seems enough people want something done (good) but don't bother thinking about it enough to be sure that what's proposed will work (bad.) There's no good solution to this. What's Malcolm supposed to do? Let's face it, Caz, no matter what you think, Malcolm would be condemned by the great majority of the science establishment if he took the "let's wait and see line" that Andrew Bolt has convinced many on the conservative side is the right thing to do. Cranky old people who are natural skeptics will applaud, but I suspect most of the young-middle aged set will believe majority science over Andrew Bolt. So Malcolm can't do it. Yet if he does push for an ETS, everyone knows he is carrying a bunch of reluctant backbenchers with him: it's not the best look either.

    At least on the Labor side, they have a history of loving symbolism, so any skeptics probably prefer to keep silent and claim credit for a do-little response that none the less makes people think something worthwhile is being done.

  10. In truth Steve, I don't think anyone in the Libs, and certainly not members of the voting public, give too hoots or have paid any attention to Turnbull's silly little (and symbolically meaningless) dance around the bastard of an emissions trading scheme.

    Look at any complete list of public "concerns" and "priorities": environment, including extreme weather conditions, never even make it into the top ten - that's pretty much a consistent result across the globe, not just Australia.

    Scientists make up an immaterial number of voters, and they obviously don't have a high representation in randomised opinion surveys.

    No one votes on a single issue (regardless of what they tell their friends).

    For the Libs, and for Turnbull in particular, the ETS is barely even a sidebar. Is anyone even paying attending to the passage of the legislation? (Gawd, it's woeful policy, woeful law!! Grrr.)


    I heard that Turnbull has gone to the trouble, today, of offering a Sandy-land style apology, that is, he has apologised for the amount of public air space that the Utegate affair has been given! Bloody glorious. The non-apology.

    He even added that there are far more important issues for people to be addressing, including, or especially, about young people.


    Are young folk in some kind of trouble?

    For a barrister, the man isn't very quick on his feet.

    The Libs might do just as well to keep him for the next election, that way they only burn Turnbull to a crisp, rather than wasting and damaging some other schmuck.

  11. Anonymous8:45 PM

    Godwin Grech is a suitable name for a villain in all kinds of stories. Combine that with his giant nose, shrivelled face, (poor guy), and the depression that is so credible - (having seen his videos, we would all be depressed if we were Godwin Grech), we are all feeling very forgiving towards him.
    The reality is that we were paying him heaps and heaps, and trusting him, to be a neutral processor, and he wasn't. He cheated.He actually did favour certain parties - liberal, in this instance, but whatever.
    Excellent defence: book oneself into a psychiatric unit: Malcolm, with bared teeth, can't touch him there.
    Smart guy, Godwin step ahead of the pollies.

  12. "The Libs might do just as well to keep him for the next election, that way they only burn Turnbull to a crisp, rather than wasting and damaging some other schmuck."

    Yep, I agree Caz.

    Turnbull, is a spent force..

  13. Well, for a couple of decades Grech's record was, almost un-besmirched ... you know, other than the little matter of his vigorous input to the allocation of $8M in tax payer dollars to the Bulldog's home ground. Hey, not many public servants have the opportunity to pull off pork-barreling for their footy team. (How did it take so long for the dots to be joined on that ... guess no one was looking for dots, until now.)

    His connection with the Libs was a scant couple of weeks working for one of them, many years ago, and as we know, he was quickly returned to Treasury, as things "didn't work out". In subsequent years Grech apparently made no further attempts to develop his career or Liberal connections via the well worn path of taking leave to work for a pollie, which, by the way, is very common, and Treasury staff are much in demand. (Howard's right hand man for a decade was a former senior executive from Treasury.)

    So, has he seethed all these years, had secret political aspirations, thwarted?

    Who knows, but I do not believe his physical or mental health problems are a crock; it's the real deal. Ken Henry and Rudd have both trod very carefully, fully aware that Grech is in quite a fragile state.

    BTW - at his level, he was more than a mere processor. If he had remained in charge of the OzCar fund, that was $2B he was "processing" - that's a lot of responsibility and accountability.

  14. Caz, I'd agree that being a barrister is very different to being a politician. I've never had the sense that he's going to be successful either. He has a sense of entitlement which is never going to go down well with the electorate. Plus, I see him as someone who just does or says whatever he has to do to keep power - not a principled man. KRudd's the same, in my opinion, a slimy unpleasant bad tempered man who just happened to be in the right place at the right time (c/f Turnbull)

  15. It's the blithe sense of entitlement that's the kicker LE.

    Bob Hawke thought he was entitled, but he worked decades for it, even if not in the political pool, he was always in the direct vicinity.

    Many pollies are former solicitors and barristers. It's hardly an unnatural fit. Familiarity with how legislation is built, oratory, basic skills of persuasion, it's no surprise that some move from law into politics.

    For Turnbull though, it's as if he ran out of things to do, had more money than he knew how to spend, woke up one morning and decided that being prime minister would be a nice hobby to fill the time after retirement. He should have given himself a longer list of hobby options, rather than picking the first thing that popped into his head.

    Rudd has me flummoxed. So does Gillard, now that she's in power. There is much about both that is pure personal ambition; bugger the merit of policies, they spend and implement like a couple of drunken sailors. The rhetoric and actions don't match. Nothing is quite what they claim. They're not reformers, that's for sure, no one need fear that.

    Watching them is akin to a prolonged game of 'now you see me, now you don't'. Still, the punters don't mind the game. Seem quite happy with it, in fact. Much like Paris Hilton: a blank slate upon which everyone can project whatever they want, and for each it will be a compelling truth. Rudd and Gillard are our Paris.

  16. Caz, yes, KRudd has me flummoxed too. I've got more time for Gillard. But I like your idea of KRudd as a tabula rasa on which people can project whatever they want...