Malcolm Turnbull’s own $11 million donation scam during the 2007 election is set to become a political issue again given the Arthur Sinodinos donation scandal that broke in the media on Wednesday. Add that to the Mafia/Liberal Party bribery scandal that was reported last year it is highly likely that Malcolm Turnbull is facing the political crisis of his career.
All the pieces to the donation/bribery puzzle are starting to come together which is bad news for the Liberal Party and the timing could not be worse as it is just a few months before the federal election.
Current donation scandal
The NSW Liberal Party had been using an ACT based slush fund called the Free Enterprise Foundation to bypass NSW laws banning property developers from donating to political parties. The NSW Liberals told the property developers to donate to the Free Enterprise Foundation and then the Free Enterprise Foundation would donate to the NSW Liberal Party. This scam was used extensively to help the Liberals fund the 2011 state election campaign.
The NSW Election Commission enforces the political donation laws and audits the financial records of the donations. The political parties have to name who has donated to them for donations greater than $1,000. So all the NSW Liberals were doing was putting down the name Free Enterprise Foundation which hid the real companies donating.
The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigated the Liberal Party and its 2011 election funding relationship with the Free Enterprise Foundation in 2014. The investigation was part of Operation Spicer which had public hearings and the NSW Election Commission followed the hearings closely and started their own investigation as they believed election laws had been broken in 2011.
On Wednesday (23-3-16) the NSW Electoral Commission published its report and in effect made a finding of corrupt conduct against various Liberal Party officials and Senator Arthur Sinodinos who was the NSW Treasurer at the time. (Click here to read the Summary of Facts report or click here to read the full report)
At any time the Liberal Party could have easily stopped the NSW Electoral Commission investigation by simply handing over a list of the donors. For whatever reason the Liberal Party have chosen not to do this and have fought extremely hard not to hand over the names of the donors. The fight can be seen in the letters between the NSW Electoral Commission and the Liberal Party’s lawyers at the end of the full report. (Click here to read the full report)
The media storm hit Wednesday with the Labor Party calling for Arthur Sinodinos to be sacked or stood down. (Click here to read more) Arthur Sinodinos threatened legal action against the NSW Electoral Commission.
“Sinodinos said the commission’s report had led to media reports labelling him corrupt and is demanding it retract all references to him in the publication.”
“In light of these matters, my lawyers on my behalf have invited the commission to immediately retract all references to me in the publication. The commission has been invited to publish a correction to that effect on its website.” (Click here to read more)
At this point the NSW Electoral Commission hasn’t succumbed to Arthur Sinodinos’ legal threats and I doubt very much they will. It must be remembered that Sinodinos hopped in the witness stand in 2014 at ICAC and could barely remember anything regarding his $200,000 job as Chairman of Australian Water Holdings (AWH) when he was in cahoots with Eddie Obeid and his family ripping off the taxpayers millions of dollars.
“The allegations of questionable donations to the party have dogged Sinodinos ever since his string of “don’t recalls” and “don’t recollects” reverberated through the hearing room during ICAC’s Operation Spicer inquiry.”
“Paul Nicolaou, the party’s former chief fund-raiser, told the inquiry that Sinodinos was chairing a finance committee meeting in 2010 when the idea of washing illicit donations through the FEF was first raised.”
“Sinodinos said that if he had been present when this was floated “it went over my head”.” (Click here to read more)
Malcolm Turnbull in full flight on the ABC defending Arthur Sinodinos
Arthur Sinodinos tries a swifty
At 10pm on Easter Friday Arthur Sinodinos’ lawyers (Arnold Bloch Leibler) released the threatening letter sent on Thursday (24-3-16) to the NSW Electoral Commission. Releasing the letter at that time is an old political trick and was clearly designed to have it receive as little media attention as possible which shows the lack of confidence that Sinodinos and his lawyers have in what they said in the letter. (Click here to read the letter)
I haven’t read the whole letter but why bother. If Sinodinos and his lawyers don’t have any confidence in the letter why should I.
The bottom line is:
“The NSW Liberals refusal to formally disclose the names of the donors led the commission to withhold $4.4 million in campaign and administrative funding claimed by the NSW Liberals from the 2015 state election. It has also frozen future public funding to the division until it complies.” (Click here to read more)
So why would the Liberal Party not hand over the names when millions of dollars is riding on it? One answer might be that it names the Mafia as reported last year.
Key Liberal fundraising body took Mafia money for access
“Mafia figures donated tens of thousands of dollars to the discredited NSW Liberal Party fundraising vehicle, the Millennium Forum, as part of an ultimately successful campaign to allow a known criminal to stay in Australia.”
“A senior Millennium Forum figure, who is already under investigation by ICAC for allegedly funnelling illegal developer donations to the NSW Liberal Party, also helped criminal Frank Madafferi’s lawyer meet then immigration minister Philip Ruddock on the visa issue.” (Click here to read more)
The Mafia being on the list is one of the few reasons I could think of as to why the Liberal Party won’t release the names. Whoever it is on the list they are sure worried about being named and the Liberal Party are worried about naming them.
Rain man Malcolm Turnbull should have seen the storm clouds coming
I wrote about Malcolm Turnbull’s own dodgy election funding in an article in 2012 titled “Malcolm Turnbull the rain man who speaks with forked tongue”. The article focused on how Turnbull, when he was Environment Minister in the John Howard government, awarded an $11 million grant to a dodgy company run by Matt Hanbury who was one of his key fundraisers. It said in part:
Mr Turnbull’s electorate fund-raising is done through an organisation he set up in 2007 called the Wentworth Forum. The SMH reported “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 funding a trail 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)
If we are going to have a close look at what Sinodinos did or didn’t do then we should also have a good look at other corrupt donation/fraud schemes such as the one above run by Malcolm Turnbull.
Looks like good-bye to the Double Dissolution election
This story is just starting to blow and in a couple of months it will be powering along. Corruption will be one of the biggest issues if not the biggest issue at the next federal election. It will be driven by social media if not the mainstream media and the Liberals are in a lot of trouble of their own making. There is no doubt that Senator Arthur Sinodinos has to go, it is just a matter of when and how much damage he does to the government before he does.
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Categories: Arthur Sinodinos, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
He belongs to Goldman Sachs,biggest crooks on the planet.
Agreed and now he is giving all our money to his mates with this fictitious global warming scam. Liberals got into power because they said that they were going to do away with it. So Malcom just takes over and does what he wants. He has to go. He should be tried for treason for signing an allegiance to a foreign power. Liberals and Labour both a bunch of crooks.
wow and here i thought turnbull was squeeky clean and was going to be doing the right thing all the way HOW WRONG I WAS
Yes, he had me fooled too, just a common silk suit spruiker he turns out to be.
The ” Truth is always Hidden in Plain Sight “
Oh Ricky what a pity you didn’t understand…..(cue guitars)
Seriously though, many are waking up to Turnbull and those like him that populate the upper echelon of our dying democracy. I always knew he’d get the PM position because that’s what Goldman required of him. No doubt, like Gillard he’ll get his payoff in retirement from Haim Saban’s Brookings Institute.
Malcolm TurnBull Just another Liar and fraud ,just another story of Theft Deceit and Treachery , Goldman Sachs? and Malcolm where does this come from ? looking forward to confronting Turncoat about his criminal behaviour ,but we all know they hide and make it hard to find them ,but when I do it will be on video .
How Did the Lucky Country End up being Taken over by Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing ? Still think we need to build a special jail , for the likes of these disgusting so called Politicians , because they Do Not Represent Us .
It seems that the laws regarding the Electoral Commission are very complex.
So it is going to be a QC’s feast. the same as happened with the Gillard case, she is still walking free! So I doubt they catch Turnbull, or the treacherous Sinodinos.
The eventual facts of the matter are, that we, the people of Australia seem to be paying for it all.
There will be no money for our grand-children.
It seems grim, that we call a lot of third-world countries corrupt seems to me Australia is the worst one.,
Again just recently the Privileges Committee let off the ex-member of Dobell, another shocking case.
Arnold Bloch’s letter stated that Simon McInnes did write to the Electoral Funding Authority for clarification on the new funding laws. Some 956 other parties did because of confusion over the law.
Wouldn’t it be a matter of the former EFA checking out its records to see the nature of the Liberal Party’s correspondence and the EFA’s reply? If the law gives the political parties a loophole, they will use it regardless of whether it is not in the spirit of the law. You can only be found guilty of breaking the law not the spirit of the law. Not complying with the spirit of the law only reflects badly on the character of the non complier. I expect there will be a court challenge on this. This supposed breach involves several hundred thousand dollars, not millions of dollars which the media has put out as a headline. The NSW Electoral Commission is withholding all money due to the Liberal Party which is over $4million. Hopefully it is also investigating the NSW unions especially as to what was disclosed in the Trade Union Royal Commission.
You are forgetting to mention that Sinodinos stated under oath at ICAC that he did not know donations were being funnelled back to NSW via the Free Enterprise Foundation despite being CC’d in on emails from Simon McInnes. Nor did you mention he was responsible for the NSW Liberal Fundraising Committee and sat in on a meeting with Paul Nicolou where the entire scheme was discussed. In his ICAC testimony Sinodinos said it went over his head if he was present. (One of the funniest denials I have ever heard).
ICAC are going to destroy him when they release their final report.
Nothing the government does is ever honourable. Cracks in confidence of the government are coming from the bulk of the silent majority. Finally, many of the silent majority are waking up. It is because of social media, with sites like this rather than the sanitised claptrap from compromised mainstream media that is revealing a filthy underbelly of career politicians and their establishment buddies.
I have no doubt that Sinodinos is the Lib version of Eddie Obeid. A grubby pair and a truly sad example of what our politics has become. He definitely should go.
I’m sure MT’s funnelling of cash to a mate and donor is just one of the many examples of this sort of corruption across the political spectrum. There is no doubt the same has been happening via the Unions on the left side of politics. They all should go.
Is it any wonder that the middle class who are constantly forced to pay for this stuff are looking for alternatives the world over. Unfortunately people like Palmer and Trump are exploiting this feeling but I’m hopeful that eventually we will stand up and rid ourselves of all of these charlatans.
It seems Malcontent Turncoat is on a mission to destroy the Liberal Party from within especially with his latest thought bubble to let the states charge income tax at whatever rate they like, which is somehow supposed to fix the schools, hospitals and the budget. Remember when Rudd declared that if the states didn’t fix their hospital systems within six months he was going to take control of all hospitals and fix it for them? How did that work out? Wonder which union super fund he has been promised CEO of after he loses the election? CBUS probably.
Your comment re Turnbull’s mission – so many Australians are so totally ignorant of real facts and vote accordingly, regardless of the real issues but what their family, union, mates tell them.
Turnbull tried six times to gain a safe Labor seat and was rejected (perhaps because they questioned his motives/sincerity in not being prepared to face a true pre-selection?) Finally he turned to the Liberal Party, who fell over themselves to give him a safe seat (at the expense of a standout hard working sitting MP). So the Libs have only themselves to blame – along with the ignorant Lib voters.
We really have little choice in this country; the three party’s – Liberal, Labor and Greens – are all a rats nest of self servers and duplicitous manipulators.
An interesting word – duplicitous; it carries such a wide range of meanings. We could all save time and worries about spelling by replacing it with the word politician! So much easier to spell and well within the reading skills of our present education levels.
The person that should be ashamed of themselves is John Howard because when Abbott took the leadership from him Turncoat was going to resign from politics altogether and Howard convinced him to stay.
Senator Arthur Sinodinos’ complaints rejected by NSW Electoral Commission
Senator Arthur Sinodinos’ demand that references to him be removed from an explosive NSW Electoral Commission statement about a political donations scandal has been firmly rejected by the commission.
“The Commission is not prepared to retract its decision or any part of its statement or summary of facts,” said the letter to Mr Sinodinos’ lawyers Arnold Bloch Leibler, which was posted on the commission’s website on Thursday afternoon.
The commission’s chairman, Keith Mason, also rejected Mr Sinodinos’ claim in his letter of complaint that he wasn’t afforded “procedural fairness” or “basic decency” by not being forewarned of the statement.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/senator-arthur-sinodinos-complaints-rejected-by-nsw-electoral-commission-20160331-gnvbr4.html
It seems democracy Australian style is a total failure as we now have had five Prime Ministers in a bit more than eight years and they are all crooked so the media says. Is it time for a military dictatorship? I think I would rather have nom elections and the soldiers instead. At least they are armed, wear uniforms and so you know who they are in the street.
Military Dictatorship are you kidding ? What do you think we have already ? The Corrupted beyond redemption Australian Police Force are your Soldiers .
All this shows that they think they are untouchable all other unions should be looked into firstly the Liberal party..
Shane, since you published your original article on this matter, I have been trying to get the following questions answered which has led to my recent email to the Chardonnay socialist – I’m not expecting a reply but maybe he will answer the questions if they come from you. How about giving it a go
Since September last year, I have been endeavoring to get answers to five questions I put to my local federal member, Scott Morrison regarding your alleged largess with Australian taxpayer’s money in 2007.
My first email in September 2015 was followed up with two further emails, the latter of which is detailed below. All three emails were rudely and witlessly ignored by Mr Morrison. It was only after I telephoned his electoral office on 22/2/2016 and spoke to his uncaring (at best) “attack dog”, that I finally received a letter dated 7/3/2016, signed by him, stating that he had forwarded my correspondence to you for your attention.
Given that a month has gone by without any reply, I now put those questions directly to you, plus one further question, for answers:
1. Did you authorise a $10 million grant in 2007, when you were the Environment Minister, to Australian Rain Corporation, which was then part owned by a person called Matt Handbury, for the “investigation” of an untried Russian technology that aims to trigger rainfall from the atmosphere, even when there are no clouds?
2. If so did you negotiate any sort of equity entitlement for the Australian people in this company in return for their generosity to Mr Handbury? (Rupert Murdoch’s nephew)
3. What was the outcome of Australian Rain Corporation’s “investigation”?
4. Is Mr Handbury a friend of yours?
5. Did Mr Handbury make any donations to your electoral fund-raising organisation, Wentworth Forum? If so, how much in total.
6. What due diligence did you undertake in respect to Australian Rain Corporation and its “investigation”, before you parted with taxpayer’s money
Mr Turnbull, undoubtedly all Australians hope that any of their Prime Ministers aren’t some sort of slimy spiv, so your answers to these six questions or even if these questions are ignored and left unanswered, will go a long way in determining what sort of character our present Prime Minister has.
I look forward to your early reply.