No winners in cyberspace over Utegate games
THE final week of Federal Parliament before winter recess proved to be more intriguing than a plot from the popular board game Cluedo.
And comments to online news forums were closely following the action as each new card was drawn in what many thought was a concocted blame game.
The hunt for the culprit in the Utegate case saw each of the suspects come under scrutiny and ticked off one by one by bloggers (and voters) as they assessed the veracity of the key characters.
The scandal’s cloak-and-dagger ingredients of fake emails, back-stabbing politicians, Senate hearings and police investigations may have started out as a highly-charged board game.
Even Treasury official Godwin Grech’s name sounds like a character out of a Cluedo-style crime mystery.
But as the main plot started to blow up in the Opposition’s face, it developed a touch of tedium for followers of the mystery in cyberspace.
Online comments initially pointed the disapproving finger at either Prime Minister Kevin Rudd or Malcolm Turnbull for their role in this game of political mudslinging which stemmed from when Rudd borrowed a ute from Ipswich used-car dealer John Grant.
But fortune turned against Turnbull soon after it emerged that the incriminating email was dodgy.
In a comment to the Herald Sun site, Dave of Melbourne summed up what many online readers were saying: “Malcolm’s bull turned and trampled him flat.”
In a similar vein, EMC of NSW wrote on The Courier-Mail site: “The Liberals refuse to answer questions about Utegate due to a police investigation, but in Question Time they repeatedly asked the Government to answer questions about Utegate. They have lost the plot.”
Whether Turnbull¹’ hopes of leading the nation will be permanently damaged by the scandal’s failure to wound its primary target, Rudd, will be revealed in time, but some comments were already dismissing him as an alternative Prime Minister.
Sams of Brisbane wrote: “Ethics aside, overly aggressive and careless people such as Turnbull have no place in federal politics. The possibility that he could ever be our PM is appalling. He should go, and so should the people in his party that made him their leader.”
But Zak of Melbourne thought all the suspects should share the guilt over Utegate, writing on the Herald Sun: “I honestly don’t care who is telling the truth. The only fact I know is that all politicians lie. The only other thing this so-called scandal proves is the old saying it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. How many other brown-nosing small businesses have phoned the office of Treasury or the Federal Government for handouts? My father owns a small business. Can he also ring Mr Swan and ask for a couple of extra bucks if his business is struggling? My heart bleeds for this ‘poor, struggling’ car dealer.”
By Thursday many comments started to indicate that if a week is a long time in politics, it’s an eternity for the public to keep up with the ins and outs of a scandal in the digital age. Many were expressing a weariness over Utegate and calling for federal politicians to return to canvassing more pressing issues.
Les Rawson of Rockingham, WA wrote on abc.net.au: “K! The politicians have had their week of slagging each other but at some point there is a country to govern. Mr Rudd has shown he is willing to use anything to divert attention from the current mismanagement of his Government, and the Opposition is helping him by attacking every lure Mr Rudd throws out.”
Sean wrote to the Herald Sun: “I am fed up with hearing about a stupid ute. Aren’t there more important things our Government can be doing? And what a waste of time Parliament is. Why bother when all they do is whine and moan and achieve nothing? Can we find some people to run the country who know what they’re doing?”
When it comes to who is the winner and loser in this scandal, Courier-Mail reader Nifty of Brisbane had a thought: “And the winner is: He who can tell the biggest lie and keep a straight p
face. Sack them both and let’s get on with our lives.”
This Utegate case is not yet closed, but if opinion in cyberspace is any guide, voters believe there are more important issues that our politicians should be worrying about.
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