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Fed: Turnbull should put up or shut up - Tanner

19 Jun 2009 11:53 PM

MELBOURNE, June 19 AAP - Any email purporting to be from the Prime Minister's office to Treasury concerning the OzCar affair is not genuine, Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner says.

Mr Tanner has challenged Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull, who claims to have a copy of the email, to put up or shut up.

(He) is accusing the Prime Minister of corrupt behaviour without the slightest bit of substantive evidence to back up that accusation," Mr Tanner told the ABC's Lateline show on Friday.

"If he has any credibility at all he will provide that substantive evidence tomorrow."

Mr Tanner said Mr Turnbull has been telling journalists that he has a copy of an email which shows Prime Minister Kevin Rudd lobbying for Ipswich car dealer John Grant, who was seeking assistance under the $2 billion Ozcar vehicle financing scheme.

He said Treasury had conducted an exhaustive search for the email with no success.

"If (Mr Turnbull) has such an email, put it out and show everybody what's in it - we don't believe that email is genuine," Mr Tanner said.

"This is now an issue about Malcolm Turnbull and his credibility."

Senior Liberal Tony Abbott likened Mr Rudd's performance in parliament on the affair to "like a man trying to remember which lie to stick to".

In a senate inquiry on Friday, the Treasury official in charge of OzCar, Godwin Grech, said his recollection was that Mr Rudd's office had first raised Mr Grant's plight with him.

"A public servant of this gentleman's seniority would not lightly say something that...would end the careers of ministers or prime ministers," Mr Abbott said.

"This public servant obviously believes that he has been told by the Prime Minister's Office to look after Mr Grant."

Mr Abbott said Treasurer Wayne Swan had also misled parliament for saying Mr Grant did not receive special treatment.

"It's absolutely obvious that Wayne Swan's office instructed Treasury to look after Mr Grant," Mr Abbott said.

"(Mr Swan) said he was not familiar with what was done for Mr Grant when in fact he got faxes at home detailing what was done for Mr Grant."

Mr Tanner said Mr Grech had acknowledged in the hearing that his memory could have been faulty and that he was uncertain about what he was suggesting.