Aussie PM Refuses to Quit in Car Dealer Scandal
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2009 4:45 PM CDT
Australian opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull, left, is calling on Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to resign.   (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
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(Newser) – Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is refusing to resign in the first major crisis of his 19 months in office, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Dubbed "Utegate"—after a popular SUV—the scandal centers on whether Rudd gave special treatment to a friend's car dealership. Critics say Rudd prompted the Treasury to extend a loan to Queensland car dealer John Grant, who lets Rudd drive a pickup truck for free.

Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull, who is calling for Rudd's resignation, says the PM sent an email nudging officials to extend the loan. Today Rudd demanded Turnbull's resignation if he can't product the email. "Parliament resumes in about 24 hours and Mr Turnbull therefore has the clock ticking," Rudd said. Police and the auditor general are investigating.