The Clintons and Their Corruptocrats

In Hillary’s term at State, wealthy crooks, influence-seekers and tyrannical governments rushed to donate millions to the Clinton Foundation, its spin-offs, Bill Clinton personally or  vague combinations of all/any of them. Figuring large on the donor list, Australia’s taxpayers

bill sleazeAustralian governments’ $85 million aid to the Clinton Foundation is a bit surprising, given that ex-President Bill and presidential candidate Hillary are synonyms for financial and personal sleaze. That total sum was paid by both Coalition and Labor governments over the past decade. Coalition and Labor have also despatched and committed $460m to the Clinton-affiliated Global Partnership for Education,  chaired by our ex-PM Julia Gillard. Abbott’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop threw Gillard’s show a lazy $140 million of taxpayer money in 2014, no questions asked. That aid was in the teeth of Gillard’s lusty presidential campaigning for Hillary against Trump.

Ostensibly charitable, the Clinton Foundation is the centerpiece of the couple’s amassing of a vast personal fortune.  Bill was president from 1993-01. Hillary was Secretary of State for Obama from 2009-13.

In Hillary’s term at State, every variety of wealthy crook, influence-seeker and tyrannical government rushed to “donate” millions to the Clinton Foundation, its spin-offs, Bill Clinton personally or  vague combinations of all/any of them. Lots of those crooked donors later scored disgrace, convictions and/or gaol on unrelated matters. Amid the sleaze, of course, the Clinton Foundation did manage to do some genuine charity work.

The Australian’s Greg Sheridan reported last February that the Coalition and Labor governments aided the Clinton foundations by more than $75 million in the past decade. The aid was via partnerships with the Clintons’ outfit as ‘technical implementing partner’. There are still three deals involving the foundations aiding Indonesia, PNG and Vietnam. Australia appears to be the biggest single foreign-government source of Clinton Foundation funds, he said. Annual aid has ranged from $6.5 million to a peak $10.3 million in 2012-13, the final Labor year.

However, Sheridan and/or his US source overlooked $10 million in a direct donation by a Rudd government entity to the Clinton Foundation in 2009-10. Rudd in 2008 set up the Global CCS Institute for research into carbon capture and storage with $100 million of taxpayer money. “The Institute provided AU$10 million to the Clinton Foundation to support the work being conducted through the Clinton Climate Initiative to accelerate key ‘early mover’ CCS projects around the world,” the Institute said.

According to the ABC, Rudd’s little venture actually involved a further commitment of $215m, at the rate of $100m a year. Other countries were supposed to tip in money too but by 2012 that amounted to a tiny $4.5m from the US and EU. The Institute itself had no idea what to spend its money on, actually complaining to the ABC that “the Rudd Government funding was too much, too soon.” After two years, Rudd’s institute had spent $7.4 million on travel and meetings, $11.3 million on contractors and consultants, and almost $6 million on administration. It had donated only $37m to carbon capture projects around the world but had $145m sitting idle in the bank. The $10 million thrown  to the Clinton Foundation appears to be part of the institute’s desperate attempts to spend its piggy bank. Carbon capture of course has proved to be a total turkey.

Part 1: Cheque Mates: Gillard, Bishop & Hillary

Rudd’s prodigious waste of public funds is a story for another day. Let’s get back to Bill and Hillary.

There are tough US laws against bribery.  But there is no law against giving millions to the “charitable” causes of an ex-President, who just happens to be first-spouse to the Secretary of State and always tipped as a President-In-Waiting. You might want Bill to give a speech to your organization or add lustre to your daughter’s society wedding. Bill’s token fee is typically $US200,000 or so.

In August 2013 even the left-leaning New York Times ran an expose of the Clinton Foundation:

“For all of its successes, the Clinton Foundation had become a sprawling concern, supervised by a rotating board of old Clinton hands, vulnerable to distraction and threatened by conflicts of interest. It ran multimillion-dollar deficits for several years, despite vast amounts of money flowing in.” With Hillary and daughter Chelsea now running it, “efforts to insulate the foundation from potential conflicts have highlighted just how difficult it can be to disentangle the Clintons’ charity work from Mr Clinton’s moneymaking ventures and Mrs Clinton’s political future.”

The stakes were high  for smooching up to Secretary of State Hillary by tipping a few million into Bill’s foundations or pocket. During Hillary’s term as Secretary, the State Department authorized $US165 billion  in commercial arms sales to 20 nations that had donated to the Clinton Foundation. They included Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Algeria, Kuwait and UAE, whose human-rights records had all been slated by the State Department itself. There was another $US151b of military-authorised arms sales to 16 nations that donated to the Clinton Foundation  which needed Hillary’s official sign-off.

The Clinton’s ‘charity’ spending used the term loosely. In 2009, the so-called charity Clinton Global Initiative bought actress Natalie Portman (Star Wars, Black Swan) a first-class ticket for herself and her Yorkshire terrier to attend its conference at Texas University, Austin.

The Clinton Foundation spent $US12 million on air travel in 2011 alone, with Bill Clinton personally racking  up a million dollars of that sum. If used for normal travel, the $US12 million could have financed 33 trips a day that year. Travel costs for the decade to 2013 came to $US50 million.

Multi-million donors to the Clinton Foundation include Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia ($US10 million plus). Individual seven-figure donors include Issam Fares, former deputy-PM of Lebanon and supporter of Hezbollah and Syria’s President Bashar Assad.

Bill Clinton was personally paid at least $US26 million in speaking fees by entities that were also Foundation donors,  according to the Washington Post. This suggests how closely Clinton money and Foundation money intertwined.

The Clintons departed the White House in 2001 self-professedly broke. That was largely because of $US10 million or so in legal bills fighting earlier scandals (Whitewater, Lewinsky, etc) and paying off Clinton’s female victims (e.g. $US850,000 to harassee Paula Jones). Their earnings from speeches, books, consulting and whatever in the next 14 years raked in $US230 million-plus. Bill was asked two years ago about being paid up to half a million for speeches for companies and trade associations that were also lobbying the State Department while Hillary was Secretary of State. That total was $US2.5 million. He replied, “I gotta pay our bills. I spend a couple of hours a day just doing the research. People like to hear me speak.”

US documents show that BHP-Billiton paid Bill Clinton $US175,000 to address the board in Australia on June 20, 2012. At the time BHP-Billiton was lobbying the State Department about “mining interests in Gabon”. In previous months, Gabon had been considering switching control of its largest iron ore deposit, Belinga, from a Chinese company, CMEC, to BHP-Billiton. Belinga, near the Congo border, was a potential 30-million tonne per annum mine and 500km railway/port project. A political problem was that Belinga is inside Gabon’s Ivindo National Park, home to rainforest gorillas and chimpanzees. Whatever hopes BHP-Billiton may have had from Clinton’s influence, they came to nought.  (Or maybe BHP-Billiton regularly pays celebs $US175,000 to address the board. If so, I’m available at  short notice). Amid corporate belt-tightening, BHP-Billiton pulled out of Gabon altogether in 2013.

The Clinton Foundation began modestly in 1997 to fund the President Clinton Memorial Library. But Bill  became a global brand while his Foundation adopted whatever charitable cause was fashionable at the moment. Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel combed the Foundation’s reports and concluded that Bill Clinton had “developed a methodology of exploiting epidemics and natural disasters to raise hundred of millions in ‘charitable donations’ that in a relaxed regulatory environment could be diverted to personal gain, funding Hillary’s political campaigns and supporting Democratic Party causes.”

Ortel noted that substantial funds went missing from the Clinton charitable funds donated for the earthquake relief in India. Total Clinton Foundation fraud runs to hundreds of millions of dollars, he said, “with diversions for political purposes and personal enrichment likely to exceed $US200 million.” Ortel also cited the American India Foundation as “a false front that attracts donations, allows unknown sums to be diverted and then manufactures deductions for cronies.”

Case studies of crooks smooching the Clintons could fill a book – indeed have filled two books. One is Partners in Crime: The Clintons’ Scheme to Monetize the White House for Personal Profit by two-times New York Times No 1 best-selling author Jerome Corsi. (Corsi is an anti-Democrat gadfly but Clinton scandals surface regularly by the liberal US media as well). Corsi says the vast sums donated to the Foundation to help earthquake victims in India and Haiti and HIV/AIDs sufferers, mostly enriched the Clintons. The donations also added $US 2b to the Clinton Foundation and raised $US 1b  for Hillary’s second run for the presidency. He says some of the funds paid off those with first-hand knowledge of Bill’s long history of errant sexual behavior. Bill Clinton also secretly established ‘pass-through’ bank accounts to hide kickbacks from Clinton Foundation donors and sponsors that only enrich the Clintons themselves.

The latest book is Clinton Cash, by Peter Schweitzer, which unfortunately, with its 635 end-notes, is not Kindle-ready until late this week. But you don’t need books. Seeking out Clinton sleaze is to be buried by an avalanche. A few samples:

  • In 2013 Canadian Uranium One executives were trying to sell off their US uranium projects to Russian interests. While successfully lobbying the State Department for permission, during Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State, they donated $US2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation, which  the Foundation failed to disclose. Bill Clinton also picked up a $US500,000 speaking fee in Moscow  – one of his highest — from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.
  • The US-approved uranium deal gave the Russians a fifth of US uranium capacity, under their Rosatom masthead. Hillary had earlier pledged to notify Obama about all donors to the Foundation but the uranium-interest donations only came to light through a Reuters reporter’s discovery. The Clintons then had to re-file five years of tax returns on  how they were reporting donations.[i]
  • Gulnara Karimova, eldest daughter of Uzbek dictator Islam Karimov,  co-sponsored a June, 2012, Clinton Foundation fundraiser in Monaco. A US Embassy cable from Tashkent remarked that she was “hoping that a connection with him will allow her to establish good relations with the Secretary of State” — who was Hillary Clinton. The embassy explained, “Most Uzbeks see Karimova as a greedy, power-hungry individual who uses her father to crush business people or anyone else who stands in her way . . . She remains the single most hated person in the country.”
  • Another Bill Clinton pal and donor (up to $US500,000) was Rajat Gupta, who also gave Bill’s daughter, Chelsea, a six-figure consulting job, despite her tender years (23) and inexperience.Rajat in 2012 got two years gaol for insider trading.

Rajat and Vinod Gupta had collaborated to form the Bill Clinton-chaired America-India Foundation for earthquake relief, supposedly to raise $US50m for re-building 100 villages.

Vinod was CEO of data-base company InfoUSA, which paid Clinton $US3 million as an adviser in 2001. Clinton collected another $US3.3 million from 2002-08 for advising Vinod, who also gave the Clinton family free personal use of his fleet of corporate jets. Alas, Vinod was charged by the SEC in 2008 with misappropriating $US9.5 million from InfoUSA to fund his own lavish lifestyle, including 20 cars. He settled with the SEC for $US7.3 million. InfoUSA shareholders resented Gupta’s use of their money to brown-nose Clinton, and the company had to settle with them as well, for $US13 million.

  • June, 2015: Britain’s Serious Fraud Office accused Clinton Foundation ex-trustee Victor Dahdeleh of paying Bahreini officials UKP25m  to win sales contracts for Alcoa US. Dahdaleh was jailed twice pre-trial but ultimately acquitted. Alcoa pleaded guilty to the affair and settled with the Justice Department for $US384 million.
  • Sikh hotelier Sant Chatwal was another Foundation ex-trustee, Hillary campaign supporter, multi-million donor to the Foundation, and multi-million hirer of the Clintons for speaking engagements. In 2001 he was arrested for allegedly defrauding the Bank of India of USD9 million, posted bail and fled to Vienna. In 2014 he pleaded guilty in the US to conspiracy, witness tampering, and having “funneled more than $US180,000 in illegal contributions between 2007 and 2011 to three federal candidates,” including Hillary. He got  three years’ probation, a $US500,000 fine, and 1,000 hours of community service.
  • Sant’s son, Vikram, known as the “Turban Cowboy”, had Bill Clinton as star guest at his 2006 wedding in India. Vikram helped marshall donations for Hillary’s 2008 presidential campaign. In 2013 Vikram was arrested at Fort Lauderdale airport with a half gram of cocaine and six grams of heroin in his underwear. He avoided jail by completing a one-year drug rehabilitation program.
  • Indian legislator Amar Singh was at the head table at a Clinton Global Initiative gala in 2005, then dined with the Clintons at their home. He donated as much as $US 5million to the Clinton Foundation, a large slice of his net worth (perhaps more than 100%). In 2011 Singh was arrested for allegedly bribing three Indian MPs during a crucial vote on a US-India nuclear agreement. He was never tried but was expelled from his party.
  • Claudio Osorio, a Florida builder, was a big backer of Hillary’s 2008 campaign and of the Clinton Global Initiative. While Hillary was Secretary of State he scored a $US10 million federal loan to build 500 homes in Haiti, but was convicted of pocketing the money instead, and got 12 years jail. 
  • Gilbert Chagoury, front-man of late Nigerian military dictator Sani Abacha, was accused by a Nigerian prosecutor of funneling more than $US4  billion from Nigeria to offshore bank accounts. He was at the Clinton’s 1996 White House Christmas Party but in 2000 was convicted by the Swiss of assisting in billion-dollar money laundering of stolen Nigerian funds. The Clinton Foundation accepted at least $US1m from him along with a pledge in 2009 for $US1b, no less. In the same year 2009, the Clinton Global Initiative   gave his Chagoury Group a prize for “sustainable development.”
  • The 2010 Haiti earthquake  killed 160,000. The Clinton Foundation spent $US600m on rehab work there, with little to show for it. However, Tony Rodham, Hillary’s brother, was a director of a company VCS Mining that got prime access to Haitian gold deposits. Another VCS Mining director was former Haiti Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, who co-chaired the Haiti rescue effort with Bill Clinton.
  • Canadian energy billionaire Frank Giustra knows how the influence game is played. He has donated to the Clinton Foundation and offshoots for many years; joined the Foundation board in 2007; and from 2007 co-sponsored the “Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative”. Bill Clinton has lobbied foreign heads of state who are crucial to Giustra’s business interests.

For example, Clinton and Giustra in 2005 flew on a Giustra jet to Almaty, Kazakhstan,  to meet with the feared Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and endorse the president’s bid to chair the Organisation for Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The OSCE, among other things, verifies the fairness of elections among member states. Nazarbayev somehow enjoyed  Soviet-style election support of 90% plus.[ii]  It also didn’t bother Clinton that Kazakhstan is rated by Transparency International as among the most corrupt countries in the world. In 2007 the US officially backed Kazakhstan’s bid and the benighted country got the OSCE chair in 2010.

So what was in it for billionaire Giustra? President Nazarbayez, two days after the Clinton/Giustra visit, helped Giustra beat out better-qualified rivals for a bargain-priced stake in the country’s uranium mines worth  $US350m. Giustra   promptly donated another $US31m, ostensibly to the Clinton Foundation, and then a further $US100m in June 2008.[iii] (The Foundation’s filed accounts were vague and there are queries about how much Giustra money stuck with Clinton personally).

Bill Clinton initially lied to the New York Times that he had not met with Giustra and Kazamtomprom uranium executives at his New York home in February, 2007.  But he changed his story when the reporter acquired photographs of the meeting.

A parallel Clinton-esque episode delivered to Giustra control of Columbia’s largest oilfield via Columbian then-President Alvaro Uribe. That leader’s well-known links to Columbian drug cartels, e.g. the Medellins, didn’t prevent Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gushing about him (contrary to strong advice from the US Embassy there)  in mid-2010 when she met him in Bogota in company with Bill and Giustra.[iv]

  •  Chinese billionnaire developer Ng Lap Seng was arrested and gaoled without bail last year pending FBI charges of conspiracy to bribe the late recent UN President John Ashe (Antigua/Barbuda) with at least $US500,000 to assist Ng’s property wheeler-dealing.[v]Ng in the Bill Clinton/Al Gore 1996 Presidential campaign used a proxy to pour more than $US1 million into the Clinton campaign.  Ng had been favored with 10 visits to the White House, including an elevator ride with Hillary Clinton. Ng’s proxy went to prison, but Ng escaped criminal charges. He allegedly has ties to the upper levels of the Chinese government and possibly its intelligence services, carted a total $US4.5m in suitcases of undeclared cash to the US during ten visits in 2013-15. These  mysterious  cash imports have drawn additional FBI charges.
  • For chutzpah, you can’t beat the Clintons’ tax-exempt charity’s move in 2010 to steer funds to a private commercial interest, the for-profit Energy Pioneer Solutions operated by Clinton pals. Matthew Whitaker, a former federal prosecutor who heads ethics watchdog group Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, had this to say: “It really stinks. It is very highly suspicious on its face. This is a company serving products and services, not a charitable purpose”Julie Tauber McMahon, part-owner of Energy Pioneer, is a Chappaqua neighbor and friend of the Clintons. She is also the daughter of Joel Tauber, a millionaire donor to the Democratic Party. Other owners of the firm, which was formed to insulate homes in rural America, include Democratic National Committee Treasurer Andrew Tobias and former Democratic congressional candidate Scott Kleeb.

Maybe our $85 million  aid to the Clinton charities was well spent, including the dollops from the Howard/Abbott/Turnbull governments. I wouldn’t say every aspect of the Clinton enterprises was corrupt. Still, there are other international charities available with impeccable records and non-partisan politics. Think Red Cross or Rotary Foundation. Why would our Coalition government in particular, choose to add support  with the Clinton’s reeking stew?

Tony Thomas new book of essays, That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, Is available here

 

 

 


[i] The detective  work was done by Schweizer in Clinton Cash. The New York Times “broke the story” after getting an advance copy.

[ii] In a December 2005 letter to Nazarbayev following one of his landslide victories, Bill Clinton wrote: “Recognizing that your work has received an excellent grade is one of the most important rewards in life.”

[iii] Giustra had earlier told the New Yorker, “All of my chips, almost, are on Bill Clinton. He’s a brand, a worldwide brand, and he can do things and ask for things that no one else can.”

[iv] Hillary described Uribe as an “essential partner to the United States” whose “commitment to building strong democratic institutions here in Colombia” would “leave a legacy of great progress that will be viewed in historic terms.”

[v] Ashe died accidentally last month before trial. He was UN President in 2013-14.

Napoleon’s Dynamite

It’s one of the oddest films ever to come out of Hollywood, an extended exercise in the gently bizarre that has been on near-permanent rotation in my DVD player, so much so that my wife now suspects an unhealthy obsession with a gawky, mega-awkward teen

napoleonFor the serious tourist, it is disappointing to pass through a major historic site without being aware of it. I had that experience in Idaho two years ago.  My host merely slowed the Dodge Charger  through  Preston (pop 5000), with its farm-machinery sheds and neat homes with nary a front or side fence – unlike Aussie home-owners who barricade their blocks. I asked, “Why no fences?” and he said, “Because we own guns”. 

We’d come 27 miles north from Logan, Utah, to lunch on fried shrimp,  twice-baked potatoes and honey-buttered scones at the Deer Cliff Inn, which sits by the Cub River canyon. Opposite is a cliff with an 80deg slope. The Shoshone, until virtually wiped out in the Bear River Massacre nearby (1863), used to stampede  deer herds over the cliff, heedless of environmental impacts.

Last week my host, a Perth classmate who went native in Utah, emailed me and mentioned that he’d not given me a “Napoleon Dynamite” tour of  landmarks in Preston, the setting for the film of 2004. I hadn’t seen the flick but the very next day I was in an op shop to buy toys, and there on an otherwise empty shelf was the DVD, price $2. It could not have been coincidence.

I have since watched it three times and according to my spouse,  have developed an unhealthy obsession with mega-awkward teen Napoleon, his weedy brother, Kip (32), Kip’s unlikely black lover LaFawnduh and Tina the family’s llama.

The houses, farms and especially Preston High School are now sacred sites for Napoleon Dynamitetragics, attracting pilgrims from as far afield as Korea and New Zealand. Even Tina has her cult, though cynics claim the original llama has passed and visitors are patting a look-alike.

The cult film cost a paltry $US400,000 to make during 23 days shooting. That included a $US1000 salary for the star, Jon Heder. It made $US 40million at the box-office, although it’s so off-beat that none of Hollywood marketers’ algorithms could cope with it. Writer-director Jared Hess himself went to Preston High. He parceled all the weirdness of his adolescent world into the film. The plot is typical revenge-of-the-nerds, but the underwhelming characters are quirky bordering on surreal. There is no profanity, no sex, and no grossness. The Mormon ambience is obvious only to initiates. Preston also happens to be the second-most Republican-voting town (93%) in the US.

Much of the sly comedy can slip by  un-noticed. You will also learn new meanings of boondoggle (in Idaho, plaited nylon keyring add-ons) and Tater-Tots (dice-sized cubes of potato, hash-brown style). The politically-correct class claim the film mocks the disabled and Mexicans. Napoleon Dynamite, as his name doesn’t suggest, is a 16-year-old carrot-topped misfit. His jaw sags, his eyes stay half-shut and he can barely manage a sentence. He pals up with a sluggish exchange student, Pedro from Juarez, with even less vocabulary and animation. One exchange goes:

Napoleon: How long did you take to grow that moustache?
Pedro: A couple of days.

The film is set in 2004 but abounds in 1980s anachronisms such as VCR players. For some reason Napoleon has no parents but is looked after by his grannie, Carlinda, who has trysts with boyfriends on quad-bike outings. Napoleon’s brother, Kip, is a 5ft, live-at-home weakling who is still getting his teeth straightened. Kip says,  “Napoleon, don’t be jealous ’cause I’ve been chatting online with babes all day. Besides, we both know that I’m training to become a cage fighter.”

Napoleon invites regular buffetings from class bullies.

[Sports jock] Don: Hey, Napoleon. What did you do last summer again?
Napoleon: I told you! I spent it with my uncle in Alaska hunting wolverines! [similar to a small bear].
Don: Did you shoot any?
Napoleon: Yeah, like, fifty of them! They were surrounding my cousin! What the heck would you do in a situation like that?
Don: What kind of gun did you use?
Napoleon: A friggin’ twelve gauge, what do you think?

In grandma’s absence (dune buggy pile-up), middle-aged Uncle Rico minds the pair. Rico’s a door-to-door con-man selling plastic-ware and breast enhancement kits. Nostalgic for his glory days at school football, he buys a time-machine kit on-line, which Napoleon and Kip try out. Napoleon just gets electric shocks and exclaims, “It’s a piece of crap, it doesn’t work!” as if any other verdict were possible. In a typically weird twist, the pathetic Kip invites his Detroit chatroom girlfriend, LaFawnduh, to Preston by bus. She turns out to be a tall, lascivious-looking black woman (think Hugh Grant’s kerbside carnal consultant, Divine Brown), but in fact she’s a nice gal and genuinely smitten with Kip.

The  outdoor marriage takes place after the film’s closing credits – I overlooked it first time around – when Napoleon gallops to the ceremony on what he claims is “a wild honeymoon stallion” he has tamed. The odd couple piggybacks into the sunset.

Pedro tells Napoleon he has a talent for sketching warriors and ‘ligers’ – a fantasy lion/tiger hybrid. Napoleon gives attractive classmate Trisha a horrifically crude portrait, with the promise, “There’s a lot more where that came from, if you’ll go to the dance with me.” Trisha’s expression says it all.

The sullen Napoleon does manage to pair with gauche classmate, Deb, after despairing of success: “I don’t even have any good skills. You know like nunchuck skills, bow-hunting skills, computer-hacking skills. Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills!”

His pick-up line to Deb, sipping milk, goes: “I see you’re drinking 1%. Is that ’cause you think you’re fat? ‘Cause you’re not. You could totally be drinking whole if you wanted to.”

In one vignette of Preston’s bucolic life, Napoleon takes a vacation job in an 8000-chook shed. “Do the chickens have large talons?” he asks owner Lyle, in real life Dave Critchlow, who steals many scenes with his part-paralysed face and personally-improvised  lines.[i] At one point Lyle is  preparing to shoot an attractive cow front-on (as farmers do). Just in time, the passing school bus blocks our view, but exposes it instead to the horrified kids. Lyle caters to his teen workers, exhausted from feathery exertions, with a lunch of eggs, egg sandwiches and egg drink.

The film is not much about nothing much, but for entertainment, it sure beats Australian politics.

Tony Thomas’s new book That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, can be bought here.


[i]  Officiating at Kip’s wedding, Lyle ad libs: “When an argument arises, if you go outside and take a nice walk, you’ll calm down and then you can come back and it won’t be an argument. And you’ll find that helps your health. All that fresh air and exercise will do you a lot of good.”

 

Cheque Mates: Gillard, Bishop & Hillary

Julia Gillard lavished an unprecedented $292 million in taxpayer dollars on the Clinton-dominated Global Partnership for Education, where she was later appointed chair. Imagine the howls if Tony Abbott had underwritten a Bush-backed charity and saw his career similarly prosper

hillary and juliaAustralian governments, both Labor and Coalition, have thrown more than half a billion dollars in foreign aid over the past few years at a pair of “charities” associated with US Democrat powerbrokers and acolytes.

The latest give-away was $140 million, announced by Abbott’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in June, 2014. The $140 million pledge went  to an amorphous, scandal-plagued US-based education and gender-parity charity chaired since February,  2104, by none other than our ex-PM Julia Gillard,[1] concurrently a prominent member of Hillary Clinton’s official Presidential campaign. The charity is  called Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

The Abbott government did not object to Gillard’s appointment to this multi-billion charity. It could have, given Gillard’s unusual behaviours, personally and in her legal capacity, at Slater & Gordon,  while for four years in the early 1990s de facto  partner of legal client Bruce Wilson, an alleged fraudster ($1m cited) of both employers and unions. The Royal Commission into Trade Union  Corruption urged charges against Wilson but described Gillard’s work on  his legal facilitation documentation as only “a lapse of professional judgement”. Commissioner Dyson Heydon had harsh words about Gillard’s style of testimony. Both Gillard and Wilson strongly deny wrong-doing.

Why Julie Bishop shifted taxpayers’ $140 million to Gillard’s GPE is a mystery. Was Bishop preparing the way for her own translation in due course to a well-remunerated international sinecure? She has as one template: ex-NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark stepping up to run the United Nations Development Program as Administrator in 2009. Clark was the first woman in that job, which she got a year after her nine years as PM. Many super-top jobs now have “Woman’s turn next” written on them in invisible ink.

Whatever was in Bishop’s mind, how did she get a tick from Abbott for such a huge gift to GPE? Abbott had a huge PM’s Department precisely to alert him against doing dumb stuff. And if his office watchdog Peta Credlin was so astute and all-controlling, why didn’t Credlin raise a literal red flag?[2] Even if Gillard’s on-going politicking in the US escaped Credlin’s attention, surely  our Ambassador in Washington, Labor’s Kim Beazley,  was taking note and sending home despatches about it?

GPE is one Clinton/Democrat-oriented charity the Coalition has backed.  The other is ex-President Bill Clinton’s murky Clinton Foundation, closely entwined with GPE. The Clintons left the White House broke in 2001 (thanks largely to legal bills and  payouts to women  Bill manhandled; Donald Trump hyperbolically calls Bill “one of the worst abusers of women in U.S. history”). Today, the Clintons have hundreds of millions in their personal bank accounts, with Hillary running a billion-dollar presidential campaign.[3]

Centrepiece of their financial recovery is the Clinton Foundation “charity” and its spin-offs.[4]

And here’s the best bit: just as Australian governments (Labor and Coalition) donated $460m in total to the Global Partnership for Education, so also did Australian governments (Labor and Coalition) deliver $75m to the Clinton  Foundation and its satellites in the past decade.  That is, our political masters have shipped well over half-a-billion dollars of our foreign-aid money to a couple of high-living US charities run by the Democrat “progressive” set.

I can imagine the howls from the ABC and Fairfax if the Coalition had donated half a billion to “charities” run by the George W Bush camp.  But I can’t imagine any Labor government providing any funding to any Bush-entity charity whatsoever.

Our annual aid to the Clinton Foundation began with John Howard in 2006 pledging $25 million over four years. That was in the Bush era. Our aid was to be matched by the Foundation and used for HIV/AIDS work in PNG, Vietnam and China. Funding peaked at $10 million in 2012-13 and continues. Australia is the single biggest foreign-­government source of   Clinton Foundation funds.

I’ll document the Clinton Foundation in a further article. Back now to Gillard’s Global Partnership for Education…

Fittingly, our new $140 million commitment to GPE was made at a five-star EU-hosted jamboree in Brussels for 800 freeloaders from 91 countries.   Other donors included the Islamic Development Bank ($US400m).  We all know how keen orthodox Islam is on girls’ equity and intellectual empowerment.[5] A new private donor is “Dubai Cares” – and maybe it does, but under sharia law, unlucky women in the United Arab Emirates[6] get flogged 80-200 lashes lashes for premarital sex. A half-dozen unluckier women in the UAE   have been stoned to death for  adultery during the past decade.

But never mind. As Julie Bishop put it, “GPE is Australia’s largest multilateral partner in education. It works in 59 countries to help children attend school, increase primary school completion, lift literacy and provide incentives for developing countries to increase their own domestic education funding.”  GPE funds involve pooling of funds and implementation by partners ,“with the partner country in the driver’s seat”. These partners are largely kleptocratic African Islamic hell-holes.

GPE has an unwieldy membership[7] of 65 basket-case countries coyly described as “fragile”; First World donor states, such as Australia; NGOs; “professional teacher bodies”, and private donors and foundations. It has spent $US4.5 billion on aid in the past decade. GPE’s stated aim is to raise funds to educate 57 million out-of-school kids from poorest nations and 250 million illiterate kids. (There’s plenty of those in Australia, no thanks to teachers’ unions.)[8]

Juila Gillard, as PM,  had already tipped in $22m to GPE in 2010-11 and followed up in late 2011 with a gargantuan $270m four-year pledge. This pledge dwarfed those from a host of comparable Western donors, combined. GPE’s grateful CEO Alice Albright, daughter of President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1997-01), successfully lobbied for Gillard as honorary  chair of GPE in late 2013.

The GPE post has enabled Gillard to swan around the world in company with the elite mega-rich, exuding  compassion for the unfortunate. Other high-class global virtue-signallers about girls’ education (a good cause per se) have also taken up Gillard as speaker and cheerleader.  Only this month the new British government (Conservative) was quoting her endorsing their foreign aid for gender-equitable education.[9]

Instead of doing her best for unfortunate girls by staying clear of US partisan politics (why alienate Republicans?), Gillard last October was  featured fawning over Hillary in an official Hillary presidential campaign video about the Democrat aspirant’s turn as Secretary of State (2009-13), saying:

“She was determined to see that women take their place as economic partners in their community, and take their place as political leaders in their community.” [Hubby Bill’s pro-activity with the female sex went unmentioned]

Gillard also praises the “calibre” of Clinton’s intellect in engaging with the Asia-Pacific region. She was a “shaper of conversations, and that’s going to be remembered for many, many long years to come as a diplomatic breakthrough for the US”, Gillard tells the camera.

In a follow-on video for Hillary, she’s alongside Madeleine Albright (as mentioned, mother of GPE’s CEO Alice). Last December Gillard starred again in a Hillary pro-election video bagging Trump over his  Muslim policies, intoning,

“If I was an American I would want to see the reputation of my country always getting stronger and stronger and never at risk because of cheap and easy statements being injected into complex foreign policy debates.”

So let’s chart the action:

  • As Australian PM, she commits $A292m of our money into GPE, a hugely disproportionate amount, into what is supposedly a non-partisan US-based global charity
  • Ex-PM Gillard in early 2014 is installed by GPE as chair
  • While chair, and without any disclaimer re her GPE leadership, she takes further starring roles as Hillary Clinton backer for president and rubbisher of Hillary’s Republican opponent.
  • This compromises the GPE non-political brand as effectively as if the chair of the Australian Red Cross had fronted with Bill Shorten in Labor Mediscare election ads, bagging Malcolm Turnbull.
  • Gillard is enveloped in new status as global icon for the  “progressive” charity set.

On October 24, 2013, by the way, when Gillard was being lined up for GPE chair, she was a key speaker with Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Al Gore in Washington DC for the Centre for American Progress (CAP). CAP was  founded and until 2014 chaired by John Podesta, chairman of Hillary’s presidential campaign, and who was earlier President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff and latterly an Obama counsellor. Gillard’s topic, you will be surprised to know, was “critical policy issues and the bold ideas needed to tackle them”.

Another Gillard gig after installation was to the “Sustainable Development Conference on Development Finance” at the UN in July, 2015. It was one of those polysyllabic festivals of nothingness capable of drawing up to 11,000 attendees from the ranks of LDC elites and producing multi-thousand-page manifestos, as Canadian blogger Hilary Ostrov has discovered. (You can bang on  from that UN podium about  educating girls amid crises, and about  UN interference with national tax laws, but President Obama had banned mention of terrorism, let alone Islamic terrorism. The T-word got three mentions anyway).[10]

Gillard as GPE chair also went  to the Qatar-run World Innovation Summit for Education in late 2015. The situation was beyond satire, as Qatar backs the full sharia law enforcing female subservience.[11]

Chief of Staff at GPE  (the No. 2 executive), Alex Palacios, began his stellar career in the US government after working on the Clinton-Gore Transition Team in 1992-93. In  late 2014, GPE joined a coalition led by the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) “Commitment to Action for Girls” and unveiled by Hillary Clinton and Gillard. CGI is an arm of the Clinton Foundation.

GPE’s reputation is none-too-flash, notwithstanding a Yes, Minister-style report card by our DFAT in 2012. Even so, DFAT rated GPE as “weak” when judged against the criterion “Plays critical role in improving aid effectiveness through results monitoring”.

GPE management promptly gave the lie to other DFAT positives. The US Government Accountability Project (GAP) discussed last February a pre-Gillard staff mismanagement episode at GPE in 2012, involving processes “tainted by irregularities” and non-transparency. However, under Gillard’s watch as chair in February, 2015, the senior executive culprit was promoted rather than punished. The GAP report found “there is abuse of authority, impunity and [fear of] retaliation”, saying:

What is the “value added” of an organization that rewards the misdeeds of its “Leadership Team?The ultimate victims, of course, are the intended beneficiaries of GPE: Rather than being provided with the best educational services the trust fund can offer, they must deal with an organization whose mismanagement at the highest levels needlessly saps resources and talent. This situation deserves serious attention, not only by the GPE Secretariat and Board, but by the Fund’s donors…”[12]

You might imagine that the GPE is somehow germane to Australia’s sphere of influence in the Pacific region, where wife-bashing and sub-standard education for girls is endemic (think Nauru for starters). But in 2014-15, 46 grants — more than two-thirds of the GPE total — went to Sub-Saharan Africa,  compared with 15 grants to three Asian regions, four to Latin America and three to the Middle East & North Africa.

The notoriously corrupt World Bank plays a major role in GPE as trustee and grant supervisor. The World Bank board includes the usual UN suspects, such as Venezuela (run on Communist lines and now so bankrupt it can’t even afford to print its hyper-inflationary banknotes). Djibouti and terror-promoting Pakistan also have plum roles on the board. The bank’s top priority, literally, is stopping climate change, never mind starvation and disease.[13] So don’t expect wonders from the World Bank supervision of GPE.

Curiously,  GPE in November, 2013, appointed as its chief operating officer a certain Lisa Gomer, who resigned as general counsel at the U.S. Agency for International Development nine months earlier amid a Justice Department investigation of contract rigging. The Agency’s inspector-general alleged Gomer had helped design a $US155,000-a-year contract job to insure it would go to USAID’s chief financial officer, David Ostermeyer, who was retiring. The Justice Department reached a $US30,000 settlement with Ostermeyer soon after Gomer became GPE’s COO, but no charges were laid against Gomer. The GAP watchdog report said,

“There is a whiff of impropriety about this appointment, given the unresolved bid-rigging issues that affected USAID on Ms. Gomer’s watch and the apparent stealth with which she assumed her new position at the GPE.  Given the extraordinary importance of the GPE’s mission educating poor children in poor countries, the Chief Operating Officer for this fund must be above reproach.”

Gomer quit last August after boasting of her “Enhanced corporate governance by facilitating direct support to Board Chair (former Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard)”.

How far up the global totem pole will ex-PM Gillard and one-time de facto of the naughty Bruce Wilson be elevated, especially if we get a President Hillary Clinton? Will Malcolm Turnbull be supporting two Labor ex-Prime Ministers, Rudd for UN Secretary-General and Gillard for President (?) Hillary Clinton’s cheer squad?

Hat-tips: Hilary Ostrov for inspiration, Michael Smith’s blog, Greg Sheridan’s reporting.

Tony Thomas’s new book of essays, “That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print”, is available here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


[1] Gillard is not paid as chair but gets a panoply of  travel and other perks.

[2] Gillard as a full-time law student in Melbourne worked part-time as co-administrator 1984-87 for the Socialist Forum think-tank founded and funded by the Victorian wing of the newly-defunct Communist Party. True but trivial.

[3]  

The Clintons’ solicitude for women’s welfare includes their $US3m wedding for daughter Chelsea in 2010. The length of Chelsea’s New York apartment stretches an entire city block.

 

[4] Now re-named the “Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation”

[5] July 18’s   honor killing of a feisty Pakistan woman by her brother is a case in point.

[6] Dubai is capital  of one of the seven UAE emirates

[7] E.g. from Africa — Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Cote d_Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Togo. From elsewhere: Afghanistan, Albania, Georgia, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Sudan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Yemen. Asia-Pacific: Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste, Vietnam

[8] The 2006 Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALLS)   results were ranked on a scale from level 1 (lowest) to level 5 (highest). Level 3 was considered the minimum level required to meet the increasingly complex demands of a knowledge society. Almost half of all Australians aged 15-74 years had literacy skills below level 3 (46% had prose literacy skills below level 3 and 47% had document literacy skills below this level) and more than half (53%) had numeracy skills below level 3. I’m not blaming teachers for those who immigrated as  adults.

[9] Gillard: “I congratulate Secretary of State Justine Greening on today’s announcement and her pivotal leadership on girls’ education.”

[10] A UN body set up to combat terrorism in 1996 has so far not even succeeded in defining the word “terrorism”.

[11] Qatar ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women in 2009, but with reservations to Article 2 (equality between men and women); Article 9 (right to nationality); Article 15 (equality before the law); Article 16 (equality in marriage, family relations, divorce, guardianship of children). These reservations were made on the basis that the articles were inconsistent with the constitution and with Shari’a law.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[12] A 2012 DFAT report card on GPE included: “GPE’s Board prioritised the development of a strategic plan to … provide a strong platform for strategic management going forward. It remains to be seen whether these improved governance arrangements will significantly improve GPE’s strategic management and performance, but early indications are positive.”Nice try, DFAT, but no cigar.

 

[13]  Annual report, 2015:  “One challenge—climate change—transcends all others. It is a fundamental threat to people and the planet, and must be addressed if the goal of ending extreme poverty is to be achieved.”

 

COMMENTS [4]

  1. Jody

    To use one of Gillard’s own observations (when she met Frau Merkel), “The girls hang out”!!! She was classy, wasn’t she?

  2. en passant

    Tony,
    I found a small illiterate typo or grammatical error on your part: “… 250 million illiterate kids. (There’s plenty of those in Australia, no thanks to teachers’ unions.)’ It should read ‘There’s plenty of those in Australia, thanks to teachers’ unions.’ Today propaganda is in, literacy, education, thinking and learning are out. Learning and understanding are so passe!
    I have come to the conclusion that the theory that there are parallel universes must be true as this corrupt one cannot be all there is. As Michael Corleone said in the execrable ‘Godfather III’ (when he tried to turn his criminal mafia family into an honest business “The higher I go, the more corruption there is. It never ends until we reach the very top.”
    Yet the mob will pretend Bill was a good guy and Hillary and experienced one. As she told a Congressional Committee after the Ambassador to Libya and three others died due to her ineptitude “Why does it matter any more?” The Left cheered and she may still be voted in by the American sheeples and dead voters.
    Gillard is just treading a well known path followed by every political Narcissist before her.

  3. DRW

    Julia Gillard is an incompetent administrator and to have to sit one of her droning speeches would be hard.

Pauline Hanson’s Mixed Bag

TONY THOMAS

Her economic policies reek of ratbaggery, so let us hope she doesn’t use her Senate clout to revive protectionism and tariffs. On multiculturalism and de-funding Big Climate’s fools and charlatans, however, she is with the angels. No wonder the ABC is already spitting insults

pauline smallPauline Hanson is now a powerful force in a divided Senate. She may head a team there of two, three (with a NSW seat) or even four senators, on a  platform including a Royal Commission into the corruption of global warming science. “This whole climate change is not based on empirical evidence and we are being hoodwinked,” she says. “Climate change is not due to humans.”

The Hanson policies will now, unavoidably, be brought into the mainstream political conversation. Hitherto, the media has chosen to treat her and her policies as “racism and bigotry” (they aren’t), “divisive” (code for “intolerable for us Leftists”) and as a butt for sex  gibes.

The ABC has just  now displayed a caricature of her as “Pauline Pantsdown”. The ABC’s only pretext for this crudity is “Simon Hunt’s Pauline Pantsdown character (right) was popular in the 1990s.”

Somehow I can’t imagine our ABC running an equivalent caricature of Labor’s Penny Wong as “Penny Pantsdown”, ditto Julia Gillard.

Expect new ABC managing director, Michelle Guthrie, to crack down hard on her myrmidons responsible for this sexist crudity against Hanson. Expect feminist Anne Summers to fly to Hanson’s defence any minute now. Expect ex-General David Morrison, Australian of the Year, to issue a new missive deploring ABC sexism – as he says, the standard you walk past is the standard you accept. Oh, and expect pigs to fly. The ABC illustration, published apropos of nothing at all, is below.

pauline

Actually, worse things have been done to Hanson by way of misogynist abuse. On March 15, 2009, while she was in her final week’s campaign as an independent for the Queensland State election, News Corp’s Sunday Telegraph and four other Murdoch tabloids published nude photographs purporting to be of Pauline Hanson in 1975. The papers paid a paparazzo $15,000 for them. Hanson’s election bid was defeated amid taunts and mockery, but the pictures of “Hanson” were manifestly fakes. In May Sunday Telegraph editor Neil Breen published a signed three-paragraph apology to her saying, “We have learnt a valuable lesson”. She obtained an out of court settlement.

Hanson is no longer easy prey. She is very likely to have as her running mate in the Senate the prominent climate sceptic Malcolm Roberts. He has been project leader for a sceptic think-tank, the Galileo Movement, founded by Case Smit and John Smeed.[i]

Roberts  is an engineering honors graduate and MBA from Chicago Graduate School of Business.  He is a one-time underground-coal miner and project executive, and his primary motive for joining Hanson is the fight against global warmists. The Galileo website says Roberts had been “statutorily responsible for thousands of people’s lives based on his knowledge and real-world experience of atmospheric gases, including carbon dioxide.”

Roberts explains his move to the Hanson party: “She is not as the media and political opponents have portrayed. Pauline is intelligent, quick, honest, courageous and persistent. We are passionate about bringing back our country.”

Anything is possible among Senate minor candidates and Fred Nile’s Christian Democrats includes up-front warming sceptics[ii] and a sceptical/agnostic view of the warming panic.  This includes a halt to warmist propaganda in school.

What a conundrum for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his side-kick, Greg Hunt, who  brought their faux carbon tax into operation last week, under the emissions trading label. Turnbull  said last month that Hanson “is not a welcome presence on the Australian political scene.” She responded reasonably that this was the electors’ call, not Turnbull’s.

What a conundrum for Tony Abbott, who organized the funding for the legal persecution of Hanson, claiming she had committed electoral irregularities. Hanson  in 2003 was sentenced to three years gaol for fraud and served eleven weeks in maximum security, including some time in solitary confinement. In November, 2003, the Court of Appeal quashed her conviction but she was still left $500,000 out of pocket.

What a conundrum for The Greens, with their agenda to suicidally switch Australian energy to those expensive unreliables, wind and solar.  Hanson outpolled the Greens in the Senate on Queensland first preferences, 9.15 per cent to 7.57 per cent.

And unfortunately, what a conundrum for economically-literate climate sceptics. That’s because Hanson’s party platform includes not only an anti-fracking agenda but the most primitive of protectionist policies. Those policies are designed to re-erect tariff  walls, prop up hopeless manufacturers, cancel free-trade agreements and reject the globalization which has brought unprecedented living standards to developed and Third World countries alike.

Whatever, Hanson’s main climate policy is brilliant. Here it is (I’ve re-ordered the points somewhat):

  • Hold a Royal Commission (or similar) into the corruption of climate science and identify whether any individual or organisation has misled government to effect climate and energy policy.
  • Remove all subsidies and financial advantages offered to the renewable energy industry and make them compete on an even playing field with other energy sources.
  • Support reliable, low-cost power generation. This has previously been Australia’s strongest competitive advantage.
  • Establish an independent Australian science body replacing the UN IPCC to report on climate science. It will be the beyond politicisation and be the basis of Australian policy on insurance and response to weather events.
  • One Nation will oppose all taxes levied on carbon dioxide, be it a flat carbon tax or a floating emissions trading scheme…
  • Abolish the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and support practical cost-effective research into energy efficiency, reliability and dependability.
  • Cancel all agreements obliging Australia to pay for foreign Climate Action and payment to the United Nations and foreign institutions…
  • Remove from the education system the teaching of a one-sided view of climate science. Teaching of climate science will begin in secondary school and will be based on the scientific method of scepticism until proven.
  • Environmental impacts to be assessed on the use of empirical scientific evidence, not activists or non-government organisations pushing ideology and political agendas.
  • Review the Bureau of Meteorology to ensure independence and accountability for weather and climate records, including public justification of persistent upward adjustments to historical climate records.
  • Review the CSIRO to ensure independence and accountability and determine whether funding has influenced the direction and results of CSIRO’s positions on the climate claims. Funding from the UN in particular will be probed for an agenda not consistent for what is best for Australians.
  • Ensure that all climate, energy and environmental policy decisions, requiring a scientific component, are based on the scientific method and empirical evidence. All decisions will be based on an economic, social and environmental assessment with environmental issues not automatically put ahead of humanity or economic realities.
  • Support renewable energy that does not impact on the environment and encourage research in the ability to store energy at affordable cost to households and businesses.
  • The wind industry must compensate all residents who have been proven to suffer from Wind Turbine Syndrome and any residents where the presence of wind turbines have negatively effected the price of their home.

The platform says,

Climate change has and will continue to be used as a political agenda by politicians and self interest groups or individuals for their own gain. We cannot allow scare mongering by people such as Tim Flannery, who make outlandish statements and are not held accountable. Climate change should not be about making money for a lot of people and giving scientists money.  

[Emissions Trading Systems are] not going to wave a magic wand and stop nature changing the climate. It will only make it harder for Australian families and businesses to make ends meet…

…Instead of so-called ‘alternative energies’ that are really ‘alternatives to energy’, we will work to reduce energy prices, and bring back dependability and reliability through environmentally responsible  energies. Low cost energy enables efficiency and productivity that generate wealth to protect the environment.

Hanson’s policies also include signing out of duplicitous UN treaties and agendas, zero net immigration (i.e. immigration equivalent to annual departures), and tough German and Japanese-style language tests for citizenship and welfare, which would be obtained only after five years’ residence. Muslim immigration and mosque-building projects would be halted. [iii]“We don’t want or need migrants bringing their problems, laws, culture and opposing religious beliefs on us,” her website says.  “If we do not make the necessary changes now to stop the advancement of Islam in Australia, there will be no hope in the future.”

Hanson’s huge polling in House seats she contested suggests many Australian voters are doing the “Brexit” thing, giving the finger to their politically-correct overlords. (Unlike the major parties, she campaigns for, not against, freedom of speech.) She ran candidates in 12 out of 30 Queensland seats, gaining 5.34% statewide. Her best results included the Lockyer Valley (21 per cent), Hinkler, based on Bundaberg (19.6 per cent), Flynn, south and west of Gladstone, (nearly 17 per cent), and Wide Bay, covering Maryborough and Gympie, (nearly 15 per cent). In Townsville’s seat of Herbert, she got 13%, compared with the Greens’ 6.1%.

All that is left to say is congratulations to Malcolm Turnbull for his transforming of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party into a national force and a megaphone for climate sanity.

Tony Thomas’s new book That’s Debatable – 60 Years in Print, is available here


[i] “They are incensed by activists and academics misrepresenting science to falsely claim global warming is harmful and caused by humans. They are concerned by academics and activists hiding behind the appeal to authority, yet mostly unwilling to debate the facts in public.”

[ii] As their WA lead candidate, Mark Imisides, put it:  “I am a career scientist, teacher, and WA resident since 1996. I am keen to address the misinformation about climate change on

[iii] She wants a Royal Commission into whether Islam is a religion deserving of tax deductible status or a dangerous anti-democratic theocracy. She also wants an end to oft-alleged profiteering via halal certification fees.

 

 

COMMENTS [25]

  1. mags of Queensland

    As she did in the past, Pauline Hanson has her finger on the pulse of the people. Pity her critics are not so astute. They mightn’t make so many stupid decisions.

  2. Mr Johnson

    Pauline Hanson is good news for the Libs – but not for the reason many people think. She won at the expense of the far superior Australian Liberty Alliance. Just like in the past, Pauline not only wears out her welcome quickly, but manages to damage the minor party conservative brand pretty quickly as well. She does this by being extremely inarticulate, and having a low grasp on her policies. In just about every interview held she got a hiding… and even from lightweights. She showed she had an idea and a slogan to go with it, but no depth. Much as I like some of her policies, I’m afraid she is not the one to sell them. By 2019, hopefully Turnbull will be gone and a sensible Conservative leader can draw back in a lot of the lost support.

    • Jack Brown

      I concur. I wonder how many people in Queensland who might have voted for the ALA ended up voting for One Nation. On the other hand others who stuck with the major parties but might have paused to consider what the ALA had to say on migration and Islamisation will tend to discard what she does have to say on these topics simply because of her style and being lumped in with other crackpot economics. In other words her lack of credibility in this sphere sucks undermines her migration and Islam policies. :(

  3. Davidovich

    I am with Hanson on her climate change issues and a great many other people are too. Hopefully, she moderates her protectionist ideas.

    • Dallas Beaufort

      If One Nation senate candidate Malcolm Roberts gains a seat, he will articulate and tear a large hole in the left’s global warming agenda, no wonder the left bellyache here with dodgy models.

  4. Don A. Veitch

    Up from the abysmal sea the Kraken wakes. Populism? Karma for our delusional elites?
    Presumptive Senator Hanson knows things about things, for example, that (so-called) free trade benefits some, but ‘free-trade’ could never, build for the needy, a municipal country dunny in Queensland.
    The Kraken sleepeth . . . In roaring (s)he shall rise . . .

  5. Rob Ellison

    The properties of greenhouse gases were investigated 150 years ago in detailed empirical experimentation. There seems little doubt that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse has and – all things being equal – more in the atmosphere will result in a warmer planet. The absorption bands can be measured from space using narrow aperture equipment. What it actually measures is proton scattering on interaction – and transfer of heat – with greenhouse gas molecules. So what constitutes proof? You need to get past the basics.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Tyndall/

    All things are never equal.

    There is – according to Graham Lloyd at The Australian newspaper – a study in Nature confirming a ‘slow down’ in global warming. But apparently they don’t have a clue as to why. The reason is in fact obvious in retrospect – since at least early in the 1960’s. Climate is an ergodic, complex, dynamical system. Ergodic means that it operates within limits over a very long time. Complex means that there are many interacting parts. Dynamical means that the parts change and interact continuously. Dynamical complexity is the third great idea of 20th century physics – along with relativity and quantum mechanics. But that’s enough theory…

    https://watertechbyrie.com/2016/02/29/climate-science-and-the-third-great-idea-in-20th-century-physics/

  6. Dallas Beaufort

    Malcolm Roberts will join Pauline Hanson to run for the Senate, representing Queensland.

    Malcolm is a family man and has a background in engineering, mining, business leadership and has a keen interest in economics; he is also passionate about climate change data and facts.
    Spending the early years of his life in India, Malcolm then moved to the bush in Central QLD and also lived in the Hunter Valley (NSW) and Brisbane before graduating from the University of Queensland with honours as an engineer. He then decided to get practical experience working as a coalface miner—mainly underground—for three years around Australia. “I love working with people in the field to feel and understand their concerns first-hand, to connect with people’s needs, and to listen to ideas on-the-job,” he says.

    Malcolm also worked and travelled widely across America and Canada, before returning to Australia where he rose quickly through management ranks to lead and turnaround underground coal mines, a coal processing plant and managed an ocean shiploader. He has also led the operational development of Australia’s largest and most complex underground coal project, setting many new industry firsts.

    Malcolm also holds a masters degree in business administration from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, one of the world’s most respected universities for finance and economics and after the birth of his first child, Malcolm and his wife Christine, established a small company providing specialised leadership and management services around Australia and overseas.

    Malcolm Roberts has earned the respect of informed people around the world for his investigation of claimed global warming and climate change where he analysed the measured data and then exposed the corruption. His disappointment with Liberal-Labor-Nationals-Greens politicians, unable to listen, refusing to face the facts and lacking care for our country led to his decision to join Pauline Hanson in standing for the Senate.

    Malcolm’s climate investigations led to deep understanding of the foreign control wrecking our country and to clarity on the tax system now choking Australians and destroying initiative and responsibility, while sabotaging our children’s future.

    “I’m completely devoted to representing all Queenslanders in the Senate as a house of review, protecting states’ rights. I am totally committed to bringing back this wonderful country that welcomed me and that has since blessed my family with so much.”

    “We appreciate, value and are proud of the special qualities of being Australian and we love our country. History shows that with the right leadership and support we can achieve anything. We’ve got the resources and creative, innovative, talented people who believe in honest effort for fair reward, while looking after those less fortunate. And our strongest trait —mate-ship — is unique in the world.”

    Malcolm’s integrity and strength-of-character have helped him turn around businesses in his role as a leader and have guided him in his role supporting leaders as an adviser, guide and mentor. He has been chairman of a closely-held public company and led its successful turnaround in a very emotional business. His practical and analytical approach combines with deep respect for people and his understanding of history’s bigger picture to make him an ideal candidate for working with all people to bring back Australia.

    “Instead of people feeling voiceless, powerless and squashed, we can listen and take action together to restore democracy, ensure security and build hope for all Australians.”
    “The Lib-Lab-Greens mess is not our fault, yet as Australians it is our responsibility. We must choose wisely whom we will elect to Parliament in the future. We must think about our children, grandchildren and their future.”

    • Rob Ellison

      Cut and paste much? I had a quick look at Malcolm Roberts climate paper. I understand why people refused to reply. Life is just too short.

      There are a couple of relevant ideas. There is no doubt that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. The science there is more than 150 years old. We should pretty much accept it as fact. This causes warming. The question is how much of recent warming was natural?

      There are about 720 billion tonnes of carbon in the atmosphere and we are adding about 10 billion a year. This is carbon that was sequestered as fossil fuels. There are some 1200 billion tonnes in the surface ocean and 720 in soils and vegetation. While warmth changes the balance of carbon in soils, vegetation, oceans and atmosphere – there is extra carbon in the stores as a result of human activity.

      Cumulative carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and cement production – from 1750 to 2011 – was about 365 billion metric tonnes as carbon (GtC), with another 180 GtC from deforestation and agriculture. Of this 545 GtC, about 240 GtC (44%) had accumulated in the atmosphere, 155 GtC (28%) had been taken up in the oceans with slight consequent acidification, and 150 GtC (28%) had accumulated in terrestrial ecosystems. Cumulative carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and cement production – from 1750 to 2011 – was about 365 billion metric tonnes as carbon (GtC), with another 180 GtC from deforestation and agriculture. Of this 545 GtC, about 240 GtC (44%) had accumulated in the atmosphere, 155 GtC (28%) had been taken up in the oceans with slight consequent acidification, and 150 GtC (28%) had accumulated in terrestrial ecosystems.

      The concentration of CO2 in the surface ocean is dependent on partial pressure (the concentration) of CO2 in the atmosphere and the solubility is partially dependant on temperature. The dominant driver for ocean CO2 concentration remains partial pressure – caused by an increase in atmospheric CO2 – and oceans are always a net sink for carbon dioxide in processes that ultimately return carbon to geological stores. For God’s sake if you are going to claim something do the calculation and don’t just pull it out of your arse.

      The annual wriggle in the CO2 curve is caused by a disparity in land area between southern and northern hemispheres. Plants in summer in the northern hemisphere consume CO2. Of course there are no really simple processes in the Earth system.

      The IPCC readers digest version of climate science I stopped reading long ago. Models we know are useless – not because they mirror reality but because they can’t.

      “In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. The most we can expect to achieve is the prediction of the probability distribution of the system’s future possible states by the generation of ensembles of model solutions. This reduces climate change to the discernment of significant differences in the statistics of such ensembles. The generation of such model ensembles will require the dedication of greatly increased computer resources and the application of new methods of model diagnosis. Addressing adequately the statistical nature of climate is computationally intensive, but such statistical information is essential.” IPCC TAR s14.2.2.2

      We are certainly not there yet and there is nothing to be gained in more computing power without some fundamental theoretical breakthroughs. But Robert’s is undoubtedly wrong. Try this for something a little different.

      https://watertechbyrie.com/2016/05/29/internal-climate-variability-trumps-global-warming/

      • Rob Ellison

        … not because they (don’t) mirror reality but because they can’t.

        • Alice Thermopolis

          As Victor Frankenstein said while climbing the Montanvert glacier in 1818: “We are but clouds that veil the midnight moon, nought may endure but Mutability”.

          Frankie got it in one. But a deep anthropocentric yearning for climate ‘stability’ still persists today, a reluctance to acknowledge its changing and unpredictable character.

          We live on a dynamic planet. Terra firma is actually a wobbling and spinning sphere with a liquid outer core moving through space at a combined speed of 113, 277 kilometres an hour (for a person sitting in a chair on the equator); and travelling 940 million kilometres in its annual orbit of the Sun.

          Changes in the Earth’s orbit contributed to the accumulation of two-plus kilometres of ice over much of North America and Siberia 12,000 years ago, mammoths in Mexico and so on.

          Our political/bureaucratic (UN) classes, alas, have put their/our $$$ on the Goldilocks principle – one of the great cons of pseudo-science – the notion that a climate future just right for everyone everywhere is somehow achievable and they can control the planet’s thermostat.

          As for model ensembles, their ability to “predict” the “probability distribution of the system’s future possible states” is about as good as a Roman haruspex with animal entrails, they do keep a lot of mathematical types in gainful employment.

          Some climate scientists – like Zurich-based Reno Knutti below – publicly admit model flaws and uncertainties (aka ‘challenges’), but it makes no difference to disciples of the alarmist paradigm.

          “It is common that more research uncovers a picture that is more complicated; thus, uncertainty can grow with time…..Judging the potential success of such a project is speculative, and it may simply take a long time to succeed. However, if the past is a guide to the future then uncertainties in climate change are unlikely to decrease quickly, and may even grow temporarily….It is likely that impact-relevant predictions, for example of extreme weather events, may be even harder to improve.” (Knutti, 2012, page 5)

          • Rob Ellison

            I like a nice literary conceit. Science is self correcting and Knutti is one of the many better ones.

            Prof. Latif cautions against too much optimism regarding short-term regional climate predictions: “Since the reliability of those predictions is still at about 50%, you might as well flip a coin”.

            Failing theoretical breakthroughs – what say we replace the whole mess with a work experience kid tossing coins?

            The problem with complex, dynamical systems is that abrupt changes can be extreme. 16C locally and a factor of 2 in rainfall in months to a decade. Tails. Damn.

          • Rob Ellison

            “Lorenz was able to show that even for a simple set of nonlinear equations (1.1), the evolution of the solution could be changed by minute perturbations to the initial conditions, in other words, beyond a certain forecast lead time, there is no longer a single, deterministic solution and hence all forecasts must be treated as probabilistic.” Julia Slingo – head of the British Met Office – and Tim Palmer – head of the European Centre for Mid-Range Forecasting.

            Here’s what it looks like schematically. There are many divergent solutions starting from slightly different starting points (within plausible limits of data accuracy) for any model. Chaotic – as Lorenz showed in the 1960′s. It’s just maths.

            http://d29qn7q9z0j1p6.cloudfront.net/content/roypta/369/1956/4751/F2.large.jpg

            What they do is choose one solution arbitrarily and send it to the IPCC where it is graphed against single arbitrarily chosen solutions from many models. It is called an opportunistic ensemble. This is an accurate description of the scientifically absurd procedure they indulge in. Understood as such in the modelling world.

            ” Sensitive dependence and structural instability are humbling twin properties for chaotic dynamical systems, indicating limits about which kinds of questions are theoretically answerable. They echo other famous limitations on scientist’s expectations, namely the undecidability of some propositions within axiomatic mathematical systems (Gödel’s theorem) and the uncomputability of some algorithms due to excessive size of the calculation.” James McWilliams.

            Models cannot predict climate because of sensitive dependence on initial conditions and structural instability due to the depth and extent of coupled processes. Change the input data slightly – add or change a process in the model – and change in the result the result is unpredictable. This was the problem that Lorenz encountered. He truncated some data from 6 to 3 decimal places and the result was puzzlingly anomalous. The change in results was not small. Thus the third great idea in 20th century physics – chaos theory – was discovered. The solutions of the Lorenz equations came to be known as the Lorenz attractor – or more colloquially as the butterfly effect.

            Criticise climate models but understand why. It is the difference between opportunistic ensembles from the IPCC that have no plausible scientific rationale – and probabilistic ensembles that have as yet limited practical utility. You can be sure that climate alarmists don’t understand.

          • Rob Ellison

            There is another way of looking at it. Models can generate thousands of plausible solutions. Sensitive dependence and structural instability. One of them might be right but there is no way of telling which.

  7. Tony Thomas

    I lodged this complaint with the ABC tonight. Maybe I will get a substantive reply, that’s be interesting.

    Baseless sexual innuendo about a woman politician by ABC news staff
    see http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-03/pauline-hanson-pauline-pantsdown-composite/7565914

    This photo montage falsely implies that Ms Pauline Hanson is promiscuous or in other ways operates with “pants down”. There is no basis whatsoever for such a smear and for such disrespect to a female. Could you please let me know what are the ABC guidelines on respectful treatment of females, especially avoidance of gratuitous references to sexual behaviour (in this case, also false). Can you also tell me whether the pic montage above complies with such ABC guidelines, and if not, what remedy you intend, and whether the ABC will make a public apology to this female politician.

    • Mr Johnson

      I love it – but let’s not hold our breath. The ABC is blind and deaf to conservative complaints.

    • Jody

      Don’t be fooled; the ABC has its significant share of misogynists and they’re mostly homosexual men!! Why do you think they dress us as nuns and portray themselves as female tarts if they are NOT misogynists?

    • Michael Fry

      Tony,

      In my experience complaints to the ABC get nowhere unless you explicitly invoke breaches of the ABC Code of Practice. In this case the ABC clearly breached Section 7 Harm and Offence, under Standards 7.1, 7.6 and 7.7.

      But even then you are likely to get a brush off – the ABC doesn’t actually understand accountability and due process.

      If Sky had run a piece about (to quote a great ALP leader) Winging the Wong number to Penny, or Tanty Tanya, they would surely have been hit with howls of outrage and complaint.

      That would surely have got a run on ABC Media Watch (not the original TM Nancy Media Watch version, I hasten to add).

  8. Bushranger71

    It is not just the ABC indulging in this vile character assassination,rtually the whole of the politically correct inclined media realm. Just galling.

    What was equally disgusting was the John Howard led assault by the 2 major parties to destroy her when the issues she raised were resonating with real Australians, just as they are now.

    At 79, I can remember when Australia was much sounder under protectionist policies strongly defended by the likes of Sir John McEwen.

    Now; we no longer have an Industry Commission but a Productivity Commission more oriented toward social and financial engineering. There are some functions that a wholesome nation needs to retain, even though there may be lower cost offshore alternatives.

    I disagree with your perception Tony of Pauline’s economic policies as ‘ratbaggery’. After all, it is rampant out of control capitalism that is getting Australia into a worsening mess.

  9. Colin S

    As a Defcon (Defiant Conservative), I watched a couple of her election interviews and slightly cringed. She’s is not great in the face to face interview, but a lot of conservatives suffer the same problem. I,100% support her stand on climate policy. I believe so called Free Trade Agreements do need careful re-consideration, but not thrown away. The trouble is that they are a misnomer, in fact they are a Trade Agreement with nothing free about them. Someone always loses and someone wins.

    Some of her other policies are truly frightening to me, nonetheless she was in my mix of senate preferences but not my first. She is a hard working courageous individual who has been most unfairly treated. A true Conviction politician. As a conservative, I feel we could have a lot worse in the senate and I am hopeful her presence will be positive for the cause and herself. As an Abbott supporter, his involvement in her wrongful jailing is a blot. As a Howard supporter, his blatant theft of some of her policies and phrases without acknowledgement, is also a blot.

    One thing I have yet to understand, what happened to the ALA vote? Or rather, why did it not materialise?

    • Mr Johnson

      Simple – Pauline reentered the political arena. The journos and commentators went bananas, and she ended up getting over $1m worth of free media exposure. At a time, when political brand awareness is gold, her ‘I hate Islam’ message was enough to eat the ALA vote alive.

  10. Alistair

    How dare Pauline Hanson parody transvestites by dressing up as a woman.

  11. Geoffrey Luck

    The major political parties are responsible for the Hanson phenomenon. In their supine repetition of “Islam is peace” they vacated the field, and the moral ground, to her.

  12. mags of Queensland

    I think some here are underestimating Pauline Hanson. She is older and wiser since her last stint in Parliament and has made it her business to go to the heart of the problems faced by most Australians.Should Malcolm Roberts also get in she will have an adviser who can help her articulate her ideas more clearly and perhaps temper them somewhat.

    I get so sick and tired of those who rubbish anyone who doesn’t boast a university degree but makes a stand to protect the rights of Australians first before anything else. Most of those with academic qualifications haven’t any practical experience of anything apart from their specialty. Doesn’t qualify them to denigrate others. many of the problems we face in Australia are the direct result of academics working on the Peter Principle.

Green $cience’s Ugly Growth

TONY THOMAS

They certainly are a smart bunch at the Australian Academy of Science, where great minds can hold two contradictory opinions at the same time. Two years ago the goal was an end to planet-wrecking growth. Now they want more taxpayer dollars to promote it

scientist green varietyThe federal electoral urgings of the Australian Academy of Science are pretty much what you’d expect. It wants more funding for science, technology and engineering. This will ‘drive innovation and growth into the future’, it says.

The Academy is oh-so-keen on economic growth. It says, “More than three decades of exponential growth in Australia’s per-capita GDP is tapering, and if nothing changes Australia will fall out of the G20 within 15 years.”

But wait!  Wasn’t this same Academy sponsoring a Green anti-growth agenda as it cranked up its Fenner Conference on the Environment less than two years ago? The conference, at the University of NSW, was titled, “Addicted to Growth? How to move to a Steady State Economy in Australia.” The Academy approves, brands and seed-funds these annual Fenner gigs at up to $10,000 a time.

The  conference flier reads“Novelist Edward Abbey once noted that ‘Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell’. Our economy is meant to be a ‘servant of society’, not its master, yet is this true today? On a finite planet nothing physical can keep on growing forever – yet that is the ideology of the ‘endless growth’ neoclassical economics that now dominates the thinking of most governments and business. This has led to a rapidly worsening environmental crisis that degrades the nature on which we all depend. We cannot keep avoiding talking about this issue – hence the need for such a conference…” 

The Academy has no economics expertise. But it promotes the eco-catastrophism of the global warming religion, having failed to notice that there has been negligible warming for two decades,[i], contrary to all the scary stuff from the IPCC computer modelling.

When common-sense flew out the Academy windows, the leadership became suckers for any variety of green ideology, such as divestment last year of its fossil fuel shares (but continued unprincipled use of fossil-fuel-powered electricity).

Dr Frank Fenner, after whom the conferences are named, was himself a mega-catastrophist, saying warming will make us extinct and whatever we do now is too late. He  played a leading post-war role in defeating the scourges of smallpox, TB and Australia’s rabbit plague. He also set up a perpetual endowment fund to support Academy conferences on the environment.[ii]

The Academy’s  conference organisers[iii] welcomed multiple   green warriors to its platform, such as an ex-strategy adviser to the Green’s Bob Brown, and various home-grown and overseas eco-lunatics. Some were strongly opposed to a zero-growth economy. That’s because they preferred economic contraction.

Speaker Haydn Washington of the Center for the Advancement of a Steady State Economy quoted Ted Trainer, guru of the “simplicity movement”, who lusts for a 90% drop in Australian living standards:

“(P)resent rich world levels of consumption are grossly unsustainable and we will probably have to reduce them by something like 90% if we are to achieve a sustainable and just world. Most people concerned about the state of the planet don’t seem to realise how huge the changes would have to be.”

Trainer’s “necessary and non-negotiable radical restructure of our society” would involve complete elimination of growth, eradication of the profit motive except for little firms and co-ops, and shifting of ‘just about all’ economic activity to small-scale, local and highly self-sufficient enterprises. In frugal, cooperative sufficiency we would find true happiness, he urged. We would work for money only two days a week and have the other five days for arts, crafts and personal growth amid a “leisure-rich landscape” and supportive community.

Speaker Erik Assadourian  from Worldwatch Institute, was described as  “spending a lot of his time raising his toddler son to prepare him for the ecological transition and civilizational collapse most likely in our future.”

The conference was opened by the ABC’s Science Show man Robyn Williams AM FAA, who boasted that, as he was an Academy Fellow, he was a fit person to represent the Academy there. He also claimed that he hadn’t bought any clothes for at least ten years, preferring hand-me-downs, and that he didn’t own a car or mobile phone.

Williams said that in the same year, 1972, that he joined the ABC, he had attended reverentially at the Canberra launch of the Club of Rome and their [failed] Limits to Growth shtick. He was unpersuaded by an odd-man-out speaker there, John Stone of Federal Treasury, who had said [correctly] “that it was all bullshit”.[iv]

Graeme Maxton, from the Club of Rome itself, spoke via video link to the UNSW show. Gushed the organisers: “A thinker of astonishing depth and breadth.”

Robyn Williams, who thinks it clever to threaten punters that global warming will kill their kittens and puppies in 2023, was followed by keynote speaker Dr Brian Czech from the Washington Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy. Czech’s theme was ‘Steady State – the time is now’.

Czech opined that down-shifting to no-growth frugality was beneficial in the same way that oppressing smokers from the 1970s did wonders for their own health. Economic policy instruments such as the Fed’s interest rate should be re-oriented against rather than towards GDP growth. The economy downsizing would start with the wealthy nations that could afford it, while making room via United Nations and G20 initiatives for poor countries to do some equitable catch-up. “You solve the poverty problem through contraction and convergence,” he concluded, a little enigmatically.

There were plenty more glum speakers on topics like “Why the growth economy is broken” and “How can civilization survive?”.

Westminster democracy was distinctly passé. Someone called Professor Herman Daly, billed as “Father of the term, Steady State Economy”, was cited for his bright idea for elections in “an ideal democracy”. Each political party would produce a manifesto of equal length. The media would be restricted to covering only debate on the manifestos.   “I would be tempted to also recommend that discussion be limited to the written and spoken word — print and radio, including via the Internet,” Daly said. “No TV or posters or other advertising images of good-looking faces, cute babies, or evil monsters.”

University students were given the “exciting opportunity” to contribute posters and abstracts on “eco and social justice”, “over-consumption”, and “transition strategies” towards the zero-growth nirvana.

For stress relief, attendees got music from a group called Wind Energy (“The Lorax’s Lament” and “Earthrise”) and after dinner, they got zingers from Rod Quantock, “an award-winning comedian” who’s been blathering about climate catastrophe for the past decade.

Perhaps I need to remind you again that this event was brought to you by the most august group of scientists we have, the Australian Academy of Science.  Anyway, I hope the election winner gives them more money, although the first tranche should be allocated to teaching them some elementary economics.

Tony’s new book, That’s Debatable – 60 years in print is available here

 

 


[i] Other than the natural el-Nino induced warming in the past year

[ii] Fenner shared the 1988 Japan Prize of 500m Yen ($A6.5m in today’s money) for preventative medicine.  It has Nobel-like status but is for applied science.

[iii] The conference was run by the UNSW,   the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy ( NSW Chapter), and the Institute for Land, Water and Society.

 

[iv] Stone says the Club of Rome founders, including the heads of VW and Fiat, had lined up eminent Australians to applaud their ‘limits to growth’ theory, and he was delegated by Treasury Secretary Fred Wheeler to attend. “I got up and tore into them and some in the audience were terribly upset at the sacrilege. However, I also got some congratulations including from Labor MHR Dick Klugman who was then in New York at the UN. A year later we put out Treasury White Paper No 2, ‘Economic Growth: Is it Worth Having’ . It rubbished the Club’s case and I’m pleased to say that then-Treasurer Frank Crean did not mind us publishing it.”

COMMENTS [4]

  1. Rob Ellison

    This is a green anti-growth strand. There also a pro-growth faction that with such extreme poverty in the world seems more humane. Google Ecomodernism. Science, technology, engineering and math are certainly the basis of innovation – one pillar of productivity growth. Resources are indeed finite while we are planet bound. Although economic substitution may provide a solution in many cases – it is usually a case of technological change. The stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones.

    I have been writing about the ‘pause’ since 2007 – because the IPCC missed it. The mechanism is mostly in the Pacific. It involves cooler and warmer sea surface temperatures in 20 to 30 year – and much longer – regimes.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2007/11/enso_variation_and_global_warm.html

    I wrote here on models and climate in 2010.

    Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state.

    It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

    Science gets it – if most people don’t. It is abrupt change – internal variability in ice, cloud, wind, currents, atmospheric moisture, biology – in a complex, dynamical (chaotic) system. It is unpredictable and can be extreme. Regional changes of up to 16°C and a factor of 2 in rainfall. The not so secret reality of models is that they are chaotic nonsense. There are thousands of divergent solutions for any model. Pick one arbitrarily and send it to the IPCC.

    “Lorenz was able to show that even for a simple set of nonlinear equations (1.1), the evolution of the solution could be changed by minute perturbations to the initial conditions, in other words, beyond a certain forecast lead time, there is no longer a single, deterministic solution and hence all forecasts must be treated as probabilistic. The fractionally dimensioned space occupied by the trajectories of the solutions of these nonlinear equations became known as the Lorenz attractor (figure 1), which suggests that nonlinear systems, such as the atmosphere, may exhibit regime-like structures that are, although fully deterministic, subject to abrupt and seemingly random change.” Julia Slingo – head of the British Met Office – and Tim Palmer – head of the European Centre for Mid-Range Forecasting.

    But I would still argue for returning carbon to agricultural soils, restoring ecosystems and research on and development of cheap and abundant energy supplies. The former to enhance productivity in a hungry world, increase soil water holding capacity, improve drought resilience, mitigate flooding and conserve biodiversity. We may in this way sequester all greenhouse gas emissions for 20 to 30 years. The latter as a basis for desperately needed economic growth. Climate change seems very much an unnecessary consideration and tales of climate doom – based on wrong science and unfortunate policy ambitions – a diversion from practical and measured humanitarian goals. Mind you – climate certainty is an impossible delusion from either side.

  2. en passant

    We are doomed, you know. It is written and I have seen the computer model that proves it with absolute certainty and without a doubt.

    Way back in 1973 when the Club of Rome’s ‘Limits to Growth’ was a mandatory text on one of my University electives the Syndicate Tutor noted that the convergence of catastrophes pointed to 2000 being the last year.

    Yes, even in the 1970′s we were taught that the activist consensus mandated our doom with absolute certainty. One that did seem a little ‘off’ to me at the time as I sweated through a Perth summer was the absolute certainty that the next Ice Age was due in just twenty years – and when it inevitably descended upon us the world was doomed. After all it was a proven fact endlessly set out in high quality tables, colourful graphs, mathematical formulae and new-fangled computer models all leading to the inescapable conclusion that the world would be uninhabitable by the Year 2000 (not ‘2012’ as the Mayans calculated in their apocalyptic calendar). The icing on the cake, so to speak was that the North Atlantic would be frozen over for 3 – 4 months a year with iceberg warnings would be regularly issued for the English Channel. With so little time left I had to ask myself if it really was worth the effort of continuing on and finishing my degree, … Maybe it would be better just to party.

    With the benefit of hindsight after a university education I can now assert with absolute confidence and computer models that I should have partied.

    Then again, who can forget the immortal prophesies of Kenneth Field at the first Earth Day in 1970? Well, I think Ken probably wishes we all would, but I have not forgotten his eternal words (thanks to the internet and the Wayback Machine). You surely must remember Ken as solemnly intoning with absolute on the first ‘Earth Day’ that “The North Atlantic Ocean will be frozen for months by the year 2000” omm, omm (that’s my contribution to this pseudo-scientific propaganda). EVERY prediction the doom-saying circus gurus have made has been proven wrong with the fullness of time. For example, after that failed prediction of alarmist doom, Al Gore then predicted exactly the opposite 39 years later in 2009 when he solemnly intoned with absolute certainty that “The Arctic Ocean might be ice free-by as soon as 2015” Well, give or take a million or so square kilometres of ice, but who has noticed?

    Corruption of scientific methods by the ‘Climate Alarm Voodoo Expert Attack Team’ (‘CAVEAT’ for short) in support of their ‘igNoble Cause’ qualifies as scientific corruption at least and criminal fraud at best. This is evidenced in Australia by the recent unscientific adjustments being made to the accumulated temperature data carefully recorded for more than a century by thousands of conscientious postmasters, school teachers and other upstanding public servants throughout Australia. When their reality and the carefully compiled records did not equate to or support the CAVEAT social and political views then the results of honest people had to be consigned to the memory hole and a fictional account of history that fitted the narrative had to be constructed. This ‘homogenisation’ of reliable data is the most obvious damning indictment of all the frauds perpetrated on the taxpayers and disqualifies every member and supporter of the CAVEAT cult from the brotherhood of true scientists who consider data as sacrosanct.

    Vast sums (in the $’000Bns) have been lavished on this alchemy by ignorant or activist politicians and their compliant and foolish governments, yet the climate refuses to obey their absolutely certain predictions. As a result what we see with our own eyes and feel every day must be ignored. So when I turn on the heater at home I understand exactly what is going on when the wide-eyed newsreader on the ABC tells me that we have just had the hottest hour/day/week/month/year/century evvaaaa. I know with absolute certainty that I am hearing pseudo-scientific nonsense that bears no connection to reality.

    While the three major parties rule over us I can predict with absolute certainty, backed up by computer models and graphs that this fraud will continue to the detriment of the sovereignty of all Australians.

    No more room to comment on their ‘steady state’ proposal, but every empire and nation that became ‘steady state’ atrophied and died. Rome, Spain, the USSR, the Caliphate all crumbled in the face of vigorous and innovative new states – just as it is right now with the moribund and dying EU. Yet this is what they want for us, though not for the elite i.e. them.

    50-years ago I read Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’, but it did not really register. I am re-reading it now so I understand the future these visionaries are proposing. Along with Orwell’s ’1984′ and ‘Animal Farm’ they have already mapped our future for us and we are doomed.
    It is an absolute certainty.

  3. Rob Ellison

    “Although it has failed to produce its intended impact nevertheless the Kyoto Protocol has performed an important role. That role has been allegorical. Kyoto has permitted different groups to tell different stories about themselves to themselves and to others, often in superficially scientific
    language. But, as we are increasingly coming to understand, it is often not questions about science that are at stake in these discussions. The culturally potent idiom of the dispassionate scientific narrative is being employed to fight culture wars over competing social and ethical values. Nor is that to
    be seen as a defect. Of course choices between competing values are not made by relying upon scientific knowledge alone. What is wrong is to pretend that they are.”  http://www.lse.ac.uk/researchAndExpertise/units/mackinder/pdf/mackinder_Wrong%20Trousers.pdf

    Science is ultimately self correcting. That’s the point. Perhaps you should of studied engineering.

  4. Ian MacDougall

    But it promotes the eco-catastrophism of the global warming religion, having failed to notice that there has been negligible warming for two decades,[i], contrary to all the scary stuff from the IPCC computer modelling.

    That is if one goes by standard thermometers. (After all, we’ve had a pretty cold winter so far.) But the planet is a thermometer in its own right, and its ‘mercury’ is the one ocean, which is steadily rising: due to glacial melt and thermal expansion of the sea water. So like it or not, the whole planet is warming.

    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

Summers in Winter

How could an online magazine featuring adulatory cover stories on Julia Gillard, David Morrison, Tim Flannery, Elizabeth Broderick and lots of the modern left’s politically correct pinups fail so dismally? It’s a mystery, especially after the free publicity lavished by the ABC

anne summers gillard coverPoor Left luvvie Anne Summers AO. Her luvvies have Left her, and she’s $180,000 in the red. She writes to me, as one of her 576 financial supporters[1],  that her irregularly-published Anne Summers Reports (13 issues) and her Anne Summers Conversations (eight) have folded. Even her cover story on failed prophet Tim Flannery[2] failed to profit. Imagine that!

That’s after we donors provided close to $100,000 all-up.[3] Anne says she achieved a lot, “especially considering the size of our team and how little money we had”. She goes on, “Regrettably, my search for a partner has not been successful and we do not have the funds to be able to continue … One final ask. Sadly we are in debt. I have an overdraft and other debts of $180,000 which I need to get rid of. If you feel able to help me reduce this I will be extremely grateful.”

Anne (we’re on first-name terms) has also canned her Illuminate project, “our proposed investigative series of high-quality writing about important subjects in Australian society. This series had been part-funded by the Cultural Fund of the Copyright Agency for which we thank them. (Sadly, we had to return the grant).”

Our call to the Copyright Agency to discover how much authors kicked in unwittingly to Anne’s project has so far not been returned. (The Copyright Agency has form in backing Leftist dud publications. It has lavished at least $146,500 on Meanjin, for example, including a whopping $64,000 donation in 2010. Recent grant recipients are listed here).

Source of Anne’s financial downfall was paying her writers, artists and photographers, and a part-time salaried assistant. “If we could not afford to pay for these, we could not afford to publish,” she says. “We had hoped the events might subsidise the magazine, but that turned out to be unrealistic.”

Anne launched Anne Summers Reports in 2012 with the help of a fawning interview by Richard Aedy on ABC Radio National soliciting donations of $10,000 from high net worth individuals. The ABC provided her venture with a special waiver from its guidelines forbidding commercial advertising. [4]

Aedy and Summers – whose partner, Chip Rolley, is editor of the ABC’s The Drum — were very persuasive. As a high net worth individual myself,  I emailed Summers, hinting at one of those $10,000-plus personal donations in exchange for a position on her advisory board. Within minutes Summers was in touch about my “most welcome offer”.  We never consummated our liaison and a frustrated Anne gave me an unflattering  pen-portrait in the March, 2013, issue.

The magazine attracted 16,500 subscribers. “I am touched to report, new people are signing up even as I write this. It is clear that many people crave the sane, factual, relevant magazine we were proud to produce,” she says. But subscribers’ cravings, obviously, haven’t extended to paying anything.

Advertisers were less attracted, indeed almost invisible. One of the three advertisers she thanks is the taxpayer-funded Australian Film, Television and Radio School.

Anne says modestly that her ticketed Conversations “will live forever as testament to our vision”. Apart from Gillard and Flannery, Anne’s “Conversation” partners included General David Morrison, now “guy”-bashing Australian of the Year, and almost certain winner of the Daily Telegraph’s blogger Tim Blair’s Frightbat of the Year 2016 contest.

Another conversationalist was Elizabeth Broderick, ex-Human Rights Commissioner and author of loopy but neverthe-less-implemented proposals to feminize the Australian Defence Forces, hitherto afflicted, Broderick reported, by a “warrior culture”.

The magazine has had such emetic cover stories as beauteously-photographed Julia Gillard; ‘“General Morrison’s revelation – ‘This was not the Army that I loved and thought I knew’”; “Seriously, Cate Blanchett”; and the University of Queensland’s number-tickling smiter of climate deniers John Cook.

Anne’s literary suicide note yesterday did not mention her three-day conference about herself last September, tickets going for $330. That event celebrated her authorship 40 years ago of, as I recall, Damned Whores and God’s Police.  The list of engrossing sessions included “Viva La Vulva”,  “Sex workers, sluts and deviant women” and the epochal “Feminism Today: From Suffragettes to SlutWalkers and beyond”.

Actually, there were 14, not 13 issues, of the magazine, which featured, Anne said, “meticulous editing”. The  bumper 90-page Issue No 13 last August 20, “our strongest yet”  had to be e-pulped  because of mysterious “errors”. It was re-published four days later as “we hope! – an error-free copy”, Anne apologised.

Vale Anne Summers Reports. Vale Anne Summers Conversations. And vale Anne’s $180,000.


[1] $3

[2] Flannery 2004: “Sydney could glimpse its future by looking at the devastating impact that global warming had already had on Perth, which he said was likely to become a ‘ghost metropolis’.” Warragamba Dam is currently 98% full and Sydney is on flood alert.

[3]  Anne also had 21 “angels” giving her monthly stipends. They were led by ex-governor-general and Bill Shorten’s mother-in-law Quentin Bryce.

[4] 15.2.2  Publicity for individuals, organisations or products should not be given, and the presentation of identifiable or clearly labelled brand products or services should be avoided. For example, contact details or repeated references to the trading name must not be broadcast or published, nor the place where goods or services may be purchased. 

COMMENTS [5]

  1. Mr Johnson

    For years, the Left have been demanding more and more free stuff. Just damned frustrating and awkward, when it extends to their own product.

  2. Augustusoz

    “.. subscribers’ cravings, obviously, haven’t extended to paying anything.” Exactly. If Anne et al didn’t think about the fact that “Why should I pay for it? Someone else should pay for it” is the standard leftist position, then she/ze/they/it deserve everything they ended up getting. Or not getting.

  3. Jody

    Poor old Anne; somehow she’s mentally never left Deniliquin. She always gives me the impression she’s just arrived from there into the big city and recently discovered what ‘feminism’ means – and she’s having some of it. All the while she’s a country girl with tarts on her mind.

    Well, I won’t be having what she’s having!!

  4. en passant

    Surely, just surely she could get a $60K ‘Arts’ grant by promising to stack shelves somewhere until she has paid back the remaining $120K?
    To pay off the rest she could promise never to publish or be heard again in public. With that promise in writing the debt would be gone in a flash.

Nauru’s Case Study in Corruption

The phosphate deposits that for a few brief and gloriously mis-managed years made the island nation one of the richest plots of real estate in the world are all but gone. That’s a pity, as you will find more decency and honesty in a pile of bird droppings than amongst the basket-case state’s larcenous elite

nauru IIIn the Fawlty Towers episode featuring the German guests, Sybil warns Basil, “Don’t mention the war”. Similarly,  all parties in Australia’s federal election campaign whisper, “Don’t mention the corrupt and vicious governance of Nauru”. Focusing on how corruptly Nauruans govern Nauru  would detract from the Coalition’s success story of stopping the boats.

Labor’s Bill Shorten, meanwhile, is trying to persuade Australians that he would continue stopping the boats, likewise by quarantining the boat people on Nauru (and, if legally permitted, PNG’s Manus Island).

The Greens, along with starry-eyed clerics and do-gooders, hate the Pacific Solution. They want us to welcome boat people regardless of numbers, whether 50,000 or five million. Their arguments focus not on the Nauru regime but on the cruelty of Australia’s offshore internment camps. (The occupants nonetheless seem to enjoy high-standard education, medicine, internet access, diet, leisure activities etc., all at vast cost per head to Australian taxpayers).

Personally, I agree that the Pacific Solution  stops the boats and related drownings. I just don’t like the unintended side-effect of bankrolling Nauru’s local elite.

This essay covers Nauru, not Manus. But for the record, 466 detainees (including about 50 children) were on Nauru last May 31, and  847 were on Manus.  Combined costs for the two centres are about $1b this year.  Assuming the next Australian government continues to stop the boats, the detention costs will fall to a projected $400m over the next few years.

The history of Nauru’s roller-coaster to 2012 of rags, riches, rags and riches again is covered in my book That’s Debatable (May 2016)[1]. Further inspection of the past four years’ Nauruan politics doesn’t suggest the appearance of any broad sunlit uplands. For example, Nauru’s Minister for Justice, Border Control and Finance is Mr David Adeang. In April, 2013, in the garden of their home, Adeang’s wife Madelyn burnt to death.   A brief police statement said she was carrying a bucket of petrol that ignited. But there has never been a coronial inquiry. The island’s resident magistrate and coroner, nicely-named Australian expat Peter Law, considered the police statement “woefully inadequate” [2]  and began preparing a coronial inquiry.  Adeang in January, 2014, ordered Law’s arrest and deportation.  Law told the ABC that there were no crime scene photographs or witness statements. Local police investigating the death were “scared of Mr Adeang”, Law said, and unwilling to interview the powerful politician.

Nauru’s chief justice was another Australian expat, Geoffrey Eames QC. “I was proposing to fly to Nauru and the government simply told the airline company not to give me a ticket as my visa had been cancelled,” Mr Eames said, naming Adeang as the visa canceller. Eames then resigned his post, telling the media:  “The police obviously did not have the enthusiasm to conduct an inquiry. That’s a pretty alarming state of affairs.”

Adeang’s PR agent, Lyall Mercer, threw a hissy-fit when asked by the ABC for comment, and Adeang himself failed to respond.[3]

How Adeang and his cronies came to power is a story in itself. The island nation’s president to 2010 was Marcus Stephen. But the hidden force in Nauru politics has long been Gold Coast-based conglomerate Getax Australia, the main purchaser of Nauru’s remaining phosphate. Like any business, it prefers to buy cheap and sell dear. In 2008, when then world phosphate price was near $400 a tonne, Getax was paying as little as $43 a tonne. In its early years with Nauru phosphate, it was reportedly turning over $150-200m year trading the phosphate to India for fertiliser.

Marcus Stephen would not play ball with Getax. The company’s response was to dangle an $25 million loan to the semi-broke government at 15% interest, allegedly in the expectation of a defaulton some onerous clauses. Default would enable Getax to take over the phosphate industry, putting it commercially in what you might call a dream scenario. President Stephen rejected the loan offer.

The leaked emails show Getax in January, 2010, financed a lavish 14-day overseas junket for half the members of Parliament. Three of Stephen’s MPs from the junket then voted against him, creating a 9-9 Parliamentary tie and crises involving new elections. Quite a few MPs on pay of $150 a week somehow managed to buy upmarket boats and cars and roll out handsome sums to heads of voting families, according to  Stephen.  Adeang’s forces finally brought down the Stephen government in mid-2013.

New President Baron Waqa was fingered in the leaked emails  as getting $60,000 in Getax cash in 2010, with various other MPs accepting $30,000, allegedly as campaigning assistance for the impending elections.[4] Adeang, according to the alleged email trail, was getting $10,000 a month from Getax in 2009 and 2010. Adeang complained in a July, 2010, email that those who received the payments were “not focused enough on the work at hand”, being more interested in “shopping, horse-betting, the national airline refusing to transport all their cargo to Nauru, and other rubbish.”

The ABC claimed that the emails show Mr Adeang soliciting an additional $665,000 in Getax payments for himself and other Nauruan politicians.

The emails also reveal a plot to overthrow the Nauru government in 2010. Adeang, in the opposition in 2009, allegedly told former Getax director Ashok Gupta[5]: “We can create a new business relationship that can take this country to a higher level of development and, of course, taking also your business to even more success”. He continued that he had the support of a number of other MPs prepared to desert the government.

“We give you full authority to mobilise or lubricate the MPs to secure the vote and win the battle,” Ashok Gupta allegedly replied.

Adeang also allegedly suggested Getax could take over the island’s phosphate business entirely: “It will not be easy. But as a business in the long term it may be ideal.”

Getax director Gupta[6], asked Mr Adeang to prepare a “full business proposal” but was stymied by the Nauru government.

Former president Sprent Dabwido – recently locked up for a month — views any selling out of the island’s only national asset as “close to treason”. It  would cripple the island, merely so that Adeang could get $60,000 or so for campaigning, he charged.

Nauru’s police commissioner at the time was expat and  former Australian Federal Police officer Richard Britten. He began an investigation into the alleged bribes and was promptly dismissed by the Waqa government. Both the NZ and the Rudd Australian governments expressed concerns about the alleged bribery.

Waqa, Adeang and Getax have denied they did anything wrong, describing the bribe allegations variously as a slur, ridiculous and offensive.  The allegations involved Nauruan domestic affairs and were of no interest to the people of Australia, a Nauru spokesman said. The Justice Minister does not like the Australian press. He said last year, “The Australian media approaches us with great arrogance and an air of racial superiority, which is highly offensive to us. They do not show us the respect of a sovereign nation and, in return, we have little respect for them.”

Expats – mostly Australasian – have filled most of the difficult official positions on Nauru. If they annoy the politicians, they get sacked and deported. It’s happened to dozens of them.

The Waqa government has now Soviet-style laws involving  seven years goal for ‘stirring up political hatred’. Five opposition MPs are banned from attending the previously 19-member Parliament (because they had “criticized the government”). The Waqa government now enjoys quasi-dictatorial power.

All this was too much for New Zealand, which had been providing $NZ1.1 million a year for the Nauru justice sector, largely to support independent expat investigators and judiciary. Last September, with unanimous Parliamentary support, it stopped its funding because it didn’t want to be tainted by association with Nauru’s disregard for human and political rights. In contrast, Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop, mindful of our detention centre’s needs, issued only mild criticism.[7]

So far, the Waqa government has

  • Arrested   former Nauru president and current MP Sprent Dabwido at a rally[8] and held him and another opposition member in custody for a month. Dabwido was released after suffering a heart attack.
  • Cancelled the passport of opposition MP Roland Kun, who is already banned from Parliament. The passport ban means he can’t see his family in NZ, where he is the breadwinner. Nor can his family return from NZ to Nauru (Kun’s wife Katy Le Roy, was legal counsel to the Parliament).
  • Raised the fees for election candidates by 2000%, deterring   low-income people from standing.
  • Imposed a prohibitive $8000 non-refundable Visa application fee for journalists, effectively keeping them off the island. The Australian’s Chris Kenny did get to the island last October, the first journalist to be accredited to visit since 18 months previously, and achieved some good scoops. [9] In February this year the Nauruan government claimed an ABC  journalist had  misdescribed himself as eligible for a tourist visa. It then booted tourist-visa passengers off a Nauru Airlines flight from Brisbane but refunded their fares. The ABC denied it had ever sent a journalist in tourist-mufti to Nauru.
  • Raised business visa fees to $8000,   deterring Nauruans wanting expat legal help. Some visa applications from lawyers have been rejected outright.
  • Appointed three new judges whom Waqa claims will vigilantly investigate past corruption.
  • Told its internet provider, Digicel, a year ago  to shut off access to Facebook and prevented Digicel’s general manager returning to  the country. The US protested but Australia didn’t. The Nauru government claimed to be combating Facebook pornography but the ban also stifles political comments.

The New Zealand Law Society’s rule of law committee president Austin Forbes QC described the Nauru situation as totally unsatisfactory:  “MPs being held in prison, not allowed to leave the country, chief justice sacked, not allowed to have a lawyer come into the country to defend anyone charged with an offence — you have to do something.”

Just how much detention-centre cash Nauru politicians are now acquiring for themselves and their country is hard to say. Joanna Olsson, the Nauru Information Office director, emailed Quadrantyesterday (16/6/16) that she doesn’t yet have e-copies of the Nauru budget papers “and will take a while to get (them) from parliament. Will let you know when we have them.” Australia’s Foreign Affairs Department has disclosed that total Nauruan revenue this fiscal year is about $115m, including detention centre windfalls.

Nauru has supposedly set up, or plans to set up, a trust fund to “bank” profits from the centre to spend in future lean  years. I’ll believe that when I see it. (Nauru once had a trust fund of phosphate profits that, strangely, simply disappeared).[10]

Our billion-a-year on detention centres is nearly all “boomerang money”, going back to Australian suppliers – e.g. Transfield, contractors and staff, and well-remunerated public servants.    (All costs per capita of detainees  are rising because we’re trying to give them comparable medical and education as in Australia).[11]

Last year our big-ticket  items on Nauru were garrison and welfare, $320m; charters, $25m; escorts $9m; healthcare $25m; family and child support $26m; and visas $15m. Plus $35m for departmental staff and supplies. Australia also pays for  side deals involving Nauruan administration, police and infrastructure. Nauru charges Australia extortionate visa fees  of  $1000 a month per detainee.  That would be $6m collected this year and a higher amount in previous years. The business visas at $8000 a pop are another nice earner.[12]

Nauruans have about 600 jobs thanks to the centre.  That’s more than one job per detainee. Until last October, Nauruans paid no income tax, but now top earners pay (or are supposed to pay) a flat 10% rate. On the other hand, the Australian cash bonanza is causing inflation and  eroding welfare and fixed incomes.

Nauru’s debt  from the squander-era has become a surprisingly low figure, largely because a lot of debt from the failed Bank of Nauru has been written off. An official study recently put debt at under $30 million, and it could be fully paid off in a year or two. However, there is also more than $50m in Yen debt that is subject to litigation. So worst case is debt in the range $50-100 million.

Nauru does not have political parties. Instead, the population of 11,000 is governed by “elders” of the dozen clans represented by the 12 points of the star on the Nauru flag.  Traditional culture involves unlimited respect and obedience to these elders. Not one has ever been held to account for the waste and corruption of the island’s previous multi-billion-dollar windfall.[13] The elders’ concern for clan welfare is suggested by the fact that a decade ago, a quarter of kids were stunted from malnutrition and half the kids under five were anaemic. Next to nothing had been spent on local health, education, infrastructure, and development. Social conditions continue to be appalling, with low education levels and  health, heavy smoking, obesity (80% of Nauruans – possibly a world top proportion), diabetes (40% of adults) and booze-fuelled wife-bashing. At election time, poor families are suddenly given wads of cash, so I suppose that’s trickle-down welfare.

It’s significant that Australia’s aid program even now is targeted to what DFAT calls “poverty reduction” and training of Nauruans for proper jobs  still being done by expats.

The Nauruans are cavalier about their high birth rates (3.70 children per mother, one of the highest in Oceania[14], despite living on a micro-island where even drinking water has to be shipped in. Their best asset is their ridiculous status as an independent republic, ninth smallest by population (11,000, one-tenth the number of my Mooney Valley shire here in suburban Melbourne) and sixth-smallest  by area (a Rottnest-sized 21 squ km). This enables them to trade their vote in the corruptUnited Nations and international agencies such as AOSIS — 43 small island states acquiring First World guilt funds by pretending they are drowning from climate change.[15]

Our official aid to Nauru runs at about $25m a year, equal to nearly a quarter of the Nauru government budget. That aid for infrastructure and services is supposed to be quarantined from Australian spending on detainees.

The aid comes with a warning that programs will stop if it’s mismanaged, with DFAT insisting that “the Governments of Nauru and Australia will maintain a zero-tolerance approach to fraudulent and corrupt actions against Australia’s development program with Nauru.”

Good luck with that!


[1] “The Naughty Nation of Nauru”, pp229-238

[2]  Law said of the petrol-bucket theory, “It was about three or four paragraphs of a description about what they [police] say had happened, and what they say had happened was dependant on what they had been told by people they’d spoken to.

ABC reporter: Which was the Justice Minister?

Law: That was the Minister for Justice, yes.”

[3] The ABC, including ABC Fact Check, deserves full marks for its sustained and aggressive coverage of Nauruan internal affairs.

[4] “Documents obtained under freedom-of-information laws by Fairfax Media reveal that in 2013, AFP investigators running an Operation codenamed Zurzach uncovered strong evidence that senior Nauruan politicians had been bribed by a Gold Coast mining company, Getax.” SMH 8/6/15

[5] Ashok Gupta is listed by ASIC as director of Getax Australia Pty Ltd , registered at Bundall Qld., from 1997 to 2001.

[6] Amit Gupta is listed by ASIC as current director and secretary of Getax Australia Pty Ltd. He became director in 1997 and secretary in 2001.

[7] Incredibly, a federal government agency issued a report a year ago on outcomes of financing the  training of lawyers and court administrators on Nauru. It did at least admit that one course never finished because of “in-country circumstances”.

[8] According to the Nauru government, it was an illegal ‘riot’.

[9] Kenny this week told the ABC “(Nauruans) are offended when people criticize their island. I understand that. They love their island…they are very proud of it, they  choose to live their lives there. We should be fair to the Nauruans and not run down their country” [at 23.30mins].

[10] A big waster of the original Nauru fortune was Air Nauru, that used to lose $40-80m a year. It was relaunched as Nauru Airlines, now with five Boeing 737-300s and nine destinations – Brisbane plus Fiji and seven tiny islands.  This is becoming comparable with the old Air Nauru, which at its peak had seven planes and 19 destinations.

[11] Note the brouhaha by demonstrators and staff at Brisbane Children’s Hospital last February when a detainee’s toddler with burns was taken there.

[12] There is some poetic justice in Nauru screwing Australia. We administered Nauru from 1920 as part of a “sacred trust” handed down by the League of Nations. The “sacred trust” in practice involved creating a British Phosphate Commission (BPC) to sell phosphate to Australia, Britain and New Zealand at a third of the world price, with royalties to Nauruans at a halfpenny a ton.

[13] For example, a police chief bought himself a yellow Lamborghini to traverse the island’s 24 kilometres of paved road, but he was too fat to get into the car.

[14] The Nauru Bureau of Statistics estimates the population will increase to 20,000 in 2038

[15] Her Excellency UN Ambassador Marlene Moses of Nauru was previous AOSIS chair to 2014, current chair is   the  disreputable state of Maldives.

COMMENTS [1]

  1. en passant

    Tony,
    It is many years since I had dealings with Nauru through Air Nauru, and it was a difficult relationship. What you are exposing is nothing new, but let me add: in the 1980′s the Oz government (as well as the UK) paid $m’s in compensation for the environmental damage that had resulted from the ‘guano’ phosphate mining. I believe that part of this money was used to buy Nauru House in Collins St in Melbourne, the rest was appropriated by deserving souls or squandered. So, on a regular basis since then the Nauran government has thrown insults at Oz and demanded endless compensation for what is apparently (from your expose) the result of political malfeasance and a purely commercial transaction.