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Dirty deals?

Whilst everyone basks in the relief of not having to listen to Tony Abbott anymore, it is not yet time to stand down.

Malcolm Turnbull is easier on the ear but much more questionable on ethics.

Like Joe Hockey, Turnbull raised campaign funds through an organisation called the Wentworth Forum which gave members access to exclusive functions he attended for membership fees which ranged from $5500 to $55,000.

The long list of generous donors include Frank Lowy, Ros Packer, John Simons, and Matt Handbury.

During the 2007 election campaign, Turnbull announced that the then Government would contribute $10 million to the investigation of an untried Russian technology that aims to trigger rainfall from the atmosphere, even when there are no clouds. Literature suggests that the technology is based on bogus science. The Australian Rain Corporation presented research documents written in Russian, explained by a Russian researcher who spoke to local experts in Russian.

Although Turnbull claimed that Australian Rain Corporation is Australian-based, investigations have shown that it is in fact 75 per cent Swiss-owned. It was also revealed that a prominent stakeholder in the Australian Rain Corporation, Matt Handbury, is a nephew of Rupert Murdoch and a neighbour of Turnbull’s.

Tony Burke Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population made the following statement on 22nd June 2009:

There is an interesting organisation involved in what is described as ‘rainfall enhancement technology’—a company named the Australian Rain Corporation. Apparently they have decided to corporatise rain! The Australian Rain Corporation sought money and the National Water Commission commissioned an independent review of the technology that they were putting forward by a former senior CSIRO officer and professor of physical sciences and engineering from the ANU. The National Water Commission insisted that the Australian Rain Corporation give a presentation of this technology to a panel of physicists. They then provided it with the research papers and made the presentation in Russian. The independent review concluded: ‘There is no convincing evidence that the Atlant technology operates as believed by its proponents.’ But in the end the department recommended that the member for Wentworth provide them with $2 million for a trial, which was arguably a generous offering, given what had been said about the technology. What did the Leader of the Opposition, as a minister, do with a recommendation to give them $2 million? He wrote to the Prime Minister seeking a lazy $10 million for the Australian Rain Corporation. You have to ask: what would be the circumstances of taking a departmental recommendation for $2 million and turning it into $10 million? Why would the Leader of the Opposition have done that as a minister?

This is where we discover that an executive of the Australian Rain Corporation happened to be a next-door neighbour of the Leader of the Opposition. The same person, the same neighbour, was a member of his electorate fundraising committee, the Wentworth Forum, with membership costing a cool $5,000 to get yourself into the room. If you want to find deals for mates, there are stories of deals for mates and there are stories that rest very squarely with the Leader of the Opposition

An article on the ABC says:

“Rainmaker Ian Searle, the father of cloud seeding in Australia for the Tasmanian Hydro scheme, has also expressed doubts, as has Israel’s internationally respected cloud physicist Professor Daniel Rosenfeld.”

“There is no single scientific paper, only the patent, and one can patent anything claiming it’s to do anything that he likes, as long as no one else has made the same claims before,” Professor Rosenfeld said.

“Mr Searle says all the literature he has seen on the technology shows it to be a bogus science.”

Why were we paying for research for a Swiss company? Why weren’t other research groups given a chance to compete for this grant? Why was the money allocated when the government was in caretaker mode? Why were they given five times what the department recommended?

No wonder they don’t want a federal ICAC.


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  1. Lee

    Excellent work, Kaye. I never cease to be amazed at how you manage to find all this stuff.

  2. gangey1959

    Very well done Kaye Lee.
    As usual, it’s a case of follow the money….

  3. Kizhmet

    Where do you dig up this stuff up Kaye??? Just amazing – well done.

  4. Kaye Lee

    To tell you the truth, I hesitated as I wrote this. I more wanted to show that all of them have examples of helping mates in the past for their own benefit which makes the attacks on Shorten and Gillard so silly. If we are going to get rid of mates’ deals and rorting then let’s do it properly or we will be engaged in this tit for tat forever.

    And can I say, I didn’t have to get out of my jammies to write this. We are all just so used to the rorts that we forget under the barrage of the latest scandal. A good memory aided by google is all it takes.

  5. Graham Parton

    Wonderful work, I love your stuff.

  6. babyjewels10

    Very impressive, as always, Kaye.

  7. paul walter

    That is gobsmacking. I am stunned to the point of not being able to offer a comment.

  8. Möbius Ecko

    By far Turnbull’s worst misconduct is investing in a terrible vulture fund. This more than anything demonstrates he is a person who puts personal wealth way above humanity.

  9. Kaye Lee

    Money has always trumped morals for Malcolm

    “Mr Turnbull’s connection to the logging industry in Solomon Islands began in 1991 and 1992, when he owned shares and was also chairman of the then Hong Kong listed Axiom Forest Resources that own logging operations and forest concessions in the country.”

    He rejected accusations that he had once played a huge role in bad logging practices in Solomon Islands, claiming “he was trying to encourage local landowners to change logging practices and ways”.

    Mr Turnbull then further claimed “…. the company (Silvania) brought in some of the best foresters in the world. There was a lot of work done on reforestation, on plantations”.

    A report by the Australian International Development Aid Bureau – now Ausaid – in 1994 described the logging practices of Axiom subsidiary Silvania Forest Products as:…”more like a clear-felling operation and bearing little relation to an attempt at even retaining a token sample of future commercial crop on the site.”

    A separate report also described Silvania’s forest practices as “amongst the worst in the world.”

  10. Matters Not

    only the patent, and one can patent anything claiming it’s to do anything that he likes, as long as no one else has made the same claims before

    Not an expert on patent law, but I find that claim somewhat extraordinary.

    Of course, ‘patent law’ varies between locations (but not much because they are legally enforceable across the world) but to suggest a patent is granted on such a flimsy claim seems fanciful.

    A quick Google gave me this:

    A patent is legally enforceable. It gives you the exclusive right to commercially exploit your invention for the life of the patent. In exchange, you are required to disclose to the public how your invention works . You do this by filing a patent application that we will publish.

    While filing for a patent may be somewhat simple (and expensive), the granting of same is much more problematic than the good Professor asserts.

    Perhaps it was a ‘loose’ use of language. Perhaps it was ‘patent pending’, which is something else again.

  11. Kaye Lee

    My household (rugby boys) are chuckling about the mental picture of a physical stoush at a Young Liberals function. It is very not PC but I gotta say they are making me laugh

    Young Liberal meeting boils over as verbal clashes turn physical after leadership spill

    Fairfax Media has learned that James Camilleri, a member of the moderates, has claimed the hard-right’s Jakov “Jay” Miljak grappled with him after a fiery debate over female quotas in the party.

    Mr Miljak, a staffer for the conservative senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, is alleged to have grappled with Mr Camilleri in a “push punch” incident against the wall of the meeting room.

    Why must conservatives always “push” it out…..lolol sorry

  12. Florence nee Fedup

    Have to disagree. This PM not easier on the ear. After listening to QT one seen a PM that can lie easier and bigger than the last.

    One who never answers questions. One that uses many words to say the same tripe as the previous one.

    One that looks around after making comments, with looks of how clever am I.

    I think we are quickly being reminded why his party dumped him before.

  13. musicinhills

    An USA Judge, said to the effect, and I can not remember the exact words, If you want to win people over to deceive and steal from, you do not treat them harshly, but with humor and friendliness. I had found out this early in life. The cleaver ones can still suck me in
    for about a day. Basically, if you want to rip people off be nice to them. It’s done all the time in Ads

  14. Kaye Lee

  15. lawrencewinder

    Sniff, sniff…. something on the nose here?

  16. Florence nee Fedup

    Listening to Turnbull, Kitchen Cabinet, it was apparent from what Turnbull had to say, he and Hockey had close friendship. Wonder if the Japanese will allow him to build those subs in SA. Suspect the Japanese FTA relied on subs being built there.

  17. diannaart

    The Libs have merely changed the messenger, not the message.

    Thanks again for excellent resource Kaye Lee.

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