Malcolm Turnbull was the key decision maker when he gave a dodgy $10 million grant to his friends just before the 2007 election while he was still the Environment Minister in the Howard government. This puts Turnbull in the same club as the corrupt Eddie Obeid, Arthur Sinodinos and others.
Obeid is looking at jail time after being charged by the police and Sinodinos had to resign yet some people want to make Turnbull the Prime Minister.
This one point alone makes Mr Turnbull an easy target and the Labor Party will attack him on it as they have previously. I wrote about some of Malcolm Turnbull’s dodgy past in 2012 and covered the $10 million scam. It worth raising again as it has never been resolved, will be an issue again if Turnbull is elected PM and also given the current anti-corruption political environment. (Click here to read the 2012 article)
While Turnbull might be able to palm off some things in his past he will never be able to justify the $10 million for his mates and that is why the Labor Party will go after him hard on the issue.
The Malcolm Turnbull scam
Mr Turnbull has refused to answer numerous questions in relation to the $10 million grant he gave in 2007 to his friend Matt Handbury when he was the Environment Minister.
Mr Turnbull’s electorate fund-raising is done though an organisation he set up in 2007 called the Wentworth Forum. The SMH reported in 2009 “Regarded as the country’s most sophisticated political fund-raising machine, the forum offers membership packages that give the most generous supporters more opportunities to gain access to Mr Turnbull.”
“It costs $5500 to be a “member”, $11,000 to be a “sponsor”, $16,500 to be a “patron”, $25,500 to be a “benefactor” and $55,000 to be a “governor”.”
“A governor can host boardroom events, and gets two tables at big functions featuring Mr Turnbull, and attendance at an exclusive dinner for supporters.”
“An analysis of forum donations, fund-raising events and memberships between 2007 and last December shows Mr Turnbull received more than $1.4 million. He personally contributed about $10,000 in catering for forum events. Most of the money was raised before the 2007 federal election.” (Click here to read more)
Matt Handbury was one of the donors to Mr Turnbull’s Wentworth Forum.
Before the 2007 election and two weeks after the election was called Malcolm Turnbull announced that the government would spend $11 million ($10 million plus GST) funding a trial of rainfall technology. The company in question was Australian Rain Corporation which was then part owned by Matt Handbury.
It says on Mr Turnbull’s Wikipedia profile “During the 2007 election campaign, Turnbull announced that the then Government would contribute $10 million to the investigation of an untried Russian technology that aims to trigger rainfall from the atmosphere, even when there are no clouds. Literature suggests that the technology is based on bogus science. The Australian Rain Corporation presented research documents written in Russian, explained by a Russian researcher who spoke to local experts in Russian.”
“Although Turnbull claimed that Australian Rain Corporation is Australian-based, investigations have shown that it is in fact 75 per cent Swiss-owned. It was also revealed that a prominent stakeholder in the Australian Rain Corporation, Matt Handbury, is a nephew of Rupert Murdoch. Turnbull has refused to answer questions regarding Matt Handbury’s contribution to the Wentworth Forum, the main fundraising organisation for Turnbull’s 2007 election campaign.” (Click here to read more)
It was even raised in parliament in 2009 during the infamous Godwin Grech / Utegate scandal. On the 22nd June 2009 the following statement by Tony Burke Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population shows up on Hansard:
“There is an interesting organisation involved in what is described as ‘rainfall enhancement technology’—a company named the Australian Rain Corporation. Apparently they have decided to corporatise rain! The Australian Rain Corporation sought money and the National Water Commission commissioned an independent review of the technology that they were putting forward by a former senior CSIRO officer and professor of physical sciences and engineering from the ANU. The National Water Commission insisted that the Australian Rain Corporation give a presentation of this technology to a panel of physicists. They then provided it with the research papers and made the presentation in Russian.”
“The independent review concluded: ‘There is no convincing evidence that the Atlant technology operates as believed by its proponents.’ But in the end the department recommended that the member for Wentworth provide them with $2 million for a trial, which was arguably a generous offering, given what had been said about the technology. What did the Leader of the Opposition, as a minister, do with a recommendation to give them $2 million? He wrote to the Prime Minister seeking a lazy $10 million for the Australian Rain Corporation. You have to ask: what would be the circumstances of taking a departmental recommendation for $2 million and turning it into $10 million? Why would the Leader of the Opposition have done that as a minister?”
“This is where we discover that an executive of the Australian Rain Corporation happened to be a next-door neighbour of the Leader of the Opposition. The same person, the same neighbour, was a member of his electorate fundraising committee, the Wentworth Forum, with membership costing a cool $5,000 to get yourself into the room. If you want to find deals for mates, there are stories of deals for mates and there are stories that rest very squarely with the Leader of the Opposition.”
“This is the same person who was able to run around saying, ‘Well, we’ve got this email. You’d better publish it,’ and who went to members of staff, intimidated them and said that he had documentary evidence. All we ask of the Leader of the Opposition is: prove that you have been telling the truth. We know what will happen. We know we will be greeted with the same deathly silence that we get now. We know that he is pretending to write and focus on something else, but we know full well that the Leader of the Opposition has been caught out and caught out badly.” (Click here to read more) And on the 23rd June 2009 it was raised again in parliament by Tony Burke. (Click here to read)
Another article says: “Rainmaker Ian Searle, the father of cloud seeding in Australia for the Tasmanian Hydro scheme, has also expressed doubts, as has Israel’s internationally respected cloud physicist Professor Daniel Rosenfeld.”
“There is no single scientific paper, only the patent, and one can patent anything claiming it’s to do anything that he likes, as long as no one else has made the same claims before,” Professor Rosenfeld said.
“Mr Searle says all the literature he has seen on the technology shows it to be a bogus science.” (Click here to read more)
At one point the government were talking about having an inquiry into the grant to Australian Rain Corporation but it never eventuated. As it turned out when the Rudd government came to power in November 2007 the new Environment Minister Penny Wong cancelled the grant but $2.97 million had already been paid and there were likely other costs in terminating the funding agreement. (Click here to read more)
There are a lot of unanswered questions that Malcolm Turnbull needs to answer about the Australian Rain Corporation grant. So far he refuses.
The mainstream media have not been reporting Mr Turnbull’s dirty laundry in recent times but you can be guaranteed that the Labor Party will raise it if Turnbull wins. Even worse for the liberal party is that social media will be raising Turnbull’s dirty laundry day in day out until the next federal election and social media is where a lot of the damage will be done with voters.
One would have thought with corruption inquiries around the country and the anti-corruption mindset of many voters anyone with even a hint of corruption about them would be ruled out as a candidate for any political party let alone the leader’s job.
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