I doubt there's anyone left who imagines the Senate's decision on Wedneday was achieved independently of Steve's input and there's two excellent columns from Tim Harper and Murray Dobbin on that below.
But there's one email from Nigel Wright to PMO Manager of Parliamentary Affairs Patrick Rogers I haven't seen mentioned anywhere that really defines the PMO's control of the Senate.
You will recall Rogers was the guy who got the call on Deloitte from Gerstein and reported "The Senator will call back once we have Deloitte locked in" and then correctly *predicted* their $500K audit on Duffy's residence would be a bust.
A few days after Nigel Wright's request to Senate Leader Marjory LeBreton in February that
"all unilateral action from that office cease before being cleared with me"and just before his remarks that
"have to do this in a way that does not lead to the Chinese water torture of new facts in the public domain that the PM does not want..."is this blunt assumption of the PMO's right to have Senate committees appointed to do their bidding. Nigel Wright (page 26):
"Patrick, we are going to need to manage the briefing of the Conservative Senators (including, hopefully Chair) of the Committee. If the Rules and Procedures committee doesn't have the right membership, then the Senate by motion should constitute a special committee that will have the right Senators on board."So bearing that in mind ...
Tim Harper : Senate scandal: A cover-up in broad daylight
Conservatives circle the wagons to keep Michael Runia and Irving Gerstein silent, raising questions about how much damage the duo could do.