Mr Rudd, who is likely to be Australian Prime Minister before Christmas, rightly wishes to clear the air about the corruption allegations against him by having an early election.

This is an excellent idea. But first, the Australian public needs to have Ruddgate properly and publicly investigated.

The West Australian Corruption and Crime Commission is the ideal place to do this. It has ready access to all the players. Ex-WA Labor Premier Mr Burke is due to give evidence soon. All the players are in WA and Rudd can be subpoenaed.

Mr Burke, Mr Rudd, Mr Edwards and the guests at the Perugino Restaurant will then be able to given sworn evidence and have that evidence tested by cross-examination. Any false evidence would bring a perjury charge (as it did with ex-Labor WA Premier, Ms Carmen Lawrence, who was acquitted).

What is the relevance of all this to the Corruption Commission? The answer is that the underlying allegation against Mr Rudd is that he corruptly used Mr Burke to assist him in removing fellow West Australian Mr Beasley from Federal Labor leadership thus enabling Mr Rudd to ultimately become Prime Minister.

On the theory that an astute businessman like Mr Burke does “nothing for nothing”, the allegation is that Mr Burke was to receive benefits, particularly if he assisted Mr Rudd to become Prime Minister.

Mr Burke has apparently carried out his part of the deal – Mr Beasley was removed and Mr Rudd is set to win an election.

What was the deal? What benefits was Mr Burke to get from Prime Minister Rudd? Is Mr Burke now in a position to blackmail Prime Minister Rudd?

All these questions raise matters of national importance. They also involve corruption at the highest level. The Corruption Commission is the best place to deal with them.

Maybe Mr Rudd will volunteer to give evidence to the Corruption Commission. On the other hand, he may not.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey