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Utegate returns

Why I faked email: Godwin Grech – Godwin Grech has admitted he created the “fake email” at the heart of the OzCar affair and claimed that he passed the contents of that email to Malcolm Turnbull under “enormous pressure”. The senior Treasury official, speaking from a psychiatric ward in Canberra last night, admitted to an error of judgment in creating the email. But he said he still believed there had been an original email from Kevin Rudd’s office, urging help for Ipswich car dealer and Labor donor John Grant, but conceded it could not be found – The Australian

Rudd in clear over Ozcars but spotlight on Grech – Auditor General Ian McPhee is expected to clear Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan of any impropriety in relation to the federal government’s plan to provide financial help to car dealers including Queenslander John Grant. But the conduct of the Treasury official at the centre of the OzCar affair, Godwin Grech, is expected to come under critical scrutiny – The Australian

‘Good public servant’ feels betrayed – Dennis Shanahan attempts to explain in The Australian what motivated Godwin Grech

Turnbull under fire over ute debacle – Government will demand Malcolm Turnbull’s head today in the expectation that a report from the Commonwealth Auditor-General clears the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, and the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, of any wrongdoing over the OzCar scheme. They were also set last night to question the Opposition Leader over whether he or a colleague tried to influence evidence the Treasury official Godwin Grech gave to a Senate committee – Sydney Morning Herald

Grech admits to fake Utegate email – Sydney Daily Telegraph


Lobbyist Nick Bolkus headhunted for connections – One of of Australia’s top political lobbyists, former Labor senator Nick Bolkus, was headhunted because of his connections with the Rann government to be a director of an aquaculture company that has gone into administration. The collapse of Australian Bight Abalone — the nation’s largest holder of abalone farming leases and licences — has left 1200 people who invested $43.8million in limbo – The Australian

Mike Rann on the run as problems become transparent – SA Premier avoids questions on connections between his government, fund raising and lobbyists – The Australian

Anna Bligh names lobbyists who paid to meet her – while Queensland Opposition Leader remains silent – The Australian

Bligh hits internal roadblock – Premier Anna Bligh has already struck resistance within the Labor Party for her political integrity drive, unable to ban ministers from attending business observer programs held during state conferences – The Australian

Island tale of politics and prime property – Andrew Fraser of The Australian tells a story of politics, property, and perceptions on Queensland’s coastal strip at the centre of the current drama surrounding lobbyists, the Bligh government and business.

Labor lobbyist Jim Elder wins favourable planning decision – The Labor mates furore threatening the State Government has widened with fresh revelations that a client of lobbying kingpin Jim Elder recently scored a profitable planning decision – Brisbane Courier Mail

Ex-Labor staffers link to Rainbow Shores developmentBrisbane Courier Mail

Lobbyist Con Sciacca in swipe at Bligh move – Brisbane Courier Mail

Political advertising

Investigation ordered into John-Paul Langbroek billboard ads approval – The Queensland State Opposition is embroiled in its own Utegate controversy amid claims it doctored an email over the alleged approval of a $90,000 billboard advertising campaign for leader John-Paul Langbroek – Brisbane Courier Mail

Turnbull demands reform of campaign funding – Melbourne Age

Political life

‘I believed my mum would return’ – Malcolm Turnbull – Melbourne Herald Sun reports on an intimate television profile

Political lurks and perks

Tropics a hot favourite for ex-MPs’ free flights – Cairns and Broome are the favourite winter retreats for former MPs, who enjoyed tens of thousands of dollars of travel last year to holiday destinations courtesy of the taxpayer – Sydney Morning Herald

Economic matters

Schools fund double dipping – A loopohole in Government funding rules has allowed some SA primary schools to win double the funding given to others in capital works cash handouts – Adelaide Advertiser

Rates can’t stay low forever, minister warns – Australia’s Financial Services Minister has begun preparing the way for higher interest rates declaring that that the present low rates ‘‘can’t stay that way forever” and expressing sympathy for banks such as Westpac that have already begun pushing up fixed-term mortgage rates – Sydney Morning Herald

Aboriginal affairs

NT government hangs in balance over housing – The future of the Northern Territory government could be decided today, with Indigenous Affairs Minister Alison Anderson preparing for a showdown with the Chief Minister during a pivotal meeting of cabinet – The Australian

Indigenous housing costs cut by $50m – The Northern Territory government has agreed to trim by more than $50 million its bureaucratic expenses for administering a $700m Aboriginal housing program, in a move to appease rebel Aboriginal ministers – The Australian


Malcolm Turnbull faces renewed calls to resign – Dennis Shanahan writes that Godwin Grech has made claims that suggest he was pressured into releasing confidential information and that he did so because he believed that, in return, the Coalition would not delay his beloved car financing scheme. This is much more than the traditional confidential documents “falling off the back of a truck” into the hands of the opposition; these claims, in the key participant’s own words, suggest a political bargain took place, a trade-off for wrongdoing. This allegation alone could make Turnbull’s position untenable – The Australian


US manufacturing rebound stokes hopes Sydney Morning Herald


Burma’s suffering is also ours – Bishop Desmond Tutu writes in the Melbourne Age that the world can and must hold the country’s leader and his regime accountable for atrocities against the Burmese.

China test will measure Obama’s pragmatism – Peter Hartcher writes in the Sydney Morning Herald


Cash for contract claims – A Reserve Bank of Australia subsidiary allegedly paid a six-figure sum to an Indian political lobbyist as part of a campaign to break into the world’s biggest banknote market – Melbourne Age

Fee cuts will slash banks’ net profits by $800mSydney Morning Herald

Bullish on Aussie dollar – Renewed confidence in commodity prices is helping underpin a rally in the Australian dollar, with leading economic forecasters tipping it has further to climb – Melbourne Herald Sun


Sanity still blowing in the wind – Terry McCrann in the Melbourne Herald Sun writes that the Rudd Government’s ‘green power’ strategy has been utterly shredded by detailed analysis which shows the total uselessness of the one form of power on which it is almost entirely based – wind.

Plan to divert water from Lake Eyre tributary – Premier Mike Rann has demanded his Queensland counterpart Anna Bligh abandon plans to allow billions of litres of water to be extracted from a critical Lake Eyre tributary – Adelaide Advertiser

Desal ‘threat’ to $50m prawn industry – Adelaide Advertiser

Our dead sea – Graphic reality of dry Lower Lakes sets inAdelaide Advertiser



Kyle Sandilands – the fallen idol – yesterday it was Kyle Sandilands’ turn to be sacrificed in the name of entertainment – sacked from Australian Idol and benched from his shamed breakfast radio program – Sydney Daily Telegraph

King Kong Kyle’s uber-ego Sydney Daily Telegraph on the career of Kyle Sandilands

Fallen Idol: Sandilands axed over stuntMelbourne Age



Infection risk spurs Torres Strait reviewThe Australian

090804tacadThe drink

Opposition slams TAC drink-driving ad featuring busty brunette – The Transport Accident Commission has printed an image of a buxom barmaid with two beers in front of her on coasters to spread the message at watering holes across the state. But taxpayers, who have paid for the campaign, were more likely to want another beer when they saw the coasters, Opposition drug abuse spokeswoman Mary Wooldridge said – Melbourne Herald Sun


Trade in abortion drugs exposed – A Brisbane obstetrician has blown the whistle on a new form of backyard abortion, involving contraband supplies of the controversial drug RU486 smuggled into the country for women to terminate their own pregnancies – The Australian

Fury at syringe sales near primary school – Sydney Daily Telegraph