Kevin Rudd has given Malcolm Turnbull and ultimatum to produce the email at the centre of the Oz Car scandal within 24 hours or resign.
Speaking outside a church in Canberra, Mr Rudd said “Mr Turnbull and the Liberals have been boasting for a long time now that they are in possession of this information. Well the time has come to produce this information to the parliament for authentication.
“If when parliament resumes in 24 hours, Mr Turnbull fails to produce this email, this email upon which his entire case against the Government is based, for authentication he has no alternative but to stand in the parliament, apologise, and to resign.”
The Opposition has been looking for a chink in the Labour armour and they obviously thought this was their best chance yet. Unfortunately for them the pivotal evidence that they claimed to have doesn’t seem to exist and they need to produce it now to justify their allegations.
Deputy Prime Minster Julia Gillard told ABC television “Mr Turnbull’s got a very big problem.
“It turns out that there is no such email so Mr Turnbull … has got a pretty big decision to make, he can either produce the email that he’s been carrying on about for days or he can tender his resignation.
“His credibility has been so shot that there will be no other alternative.”
Treasurer Wayne Swan has fended off calls for him to resign saying media reports that his position hangs in the balance and that he should resign over the OzCar affair are “ridiculous” and “absurd”.
Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull claims Mr Swan has misled parliament over claims that he did not assist car dealer John Grant. “If you look at the emails that are on the public record, what you can see is Mr Grant didn’t receive any assistance from OzCar or Ford Credit. He didn’t receive any assistance at all,” Mr Swan Said.
Certainly Mr Rudd seems to be in clear air at this stage but Mr Swan would seem to have a bit of work to do yet before he is in the clear. Email records tendered to a Senate inquiry on Friday into the OzCar program showed that Mr Swan was being kept in the loop regarding Mr Grant’s application for finance. Whether any undue influence was applied is yet to be seen.
Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey however has chosen not to speak on the affair today. He refused to comment on the email or who had seen it.
He did say that Wayne Swan would be hounded by the Opposition on the matter over the next few days. “Wayne Swan this morning dodged a few bullets. Over the next few days he will not be able to avoid answering questions, detailed questions, about his relationship with John Grant and exactly what he did to help John Grant,” Mr Hockey said.
“Over the next few days we will be asking a lot of questions of the Treasurer. We expect a lot of detailed answers.
Clearly it has become an issue to hot to handle except in the sanctuary of parliament.