The taboo on misleading is particularly important because it builds a sort of honesty check into the political system. It gives Parliament a few teeth against the executive.
As has been pointed out during the debate, Howard's unwillingness to give the full truth in this instance reinforces suspicions he knew more than he confessed on another matter, the children overboard saga.
It was obvious he'd been protected by Chinese walls, but his insistence to Parliament that he hadn't been told the children overboard story was wrong had to be given credence because he was known to be very careful about what he said in Parliament.
In the past couple of years one detects an increasingly cavalier attitude to the truth around the prime ministerial establishment.
More on this tomorrow when the Lateline transcript becomes available. It will also be interesting to find out when Labor lodged the FOI request which led to disclosure of the meeting Howard denied attending. I suspect the FOI request went in long before the Manildra donation was received. A brighter opposition might have refused it.