Senator Keneally says something ‘fishy’ about Turnbull’s $444M grant to Barrier Reef Foundation
from the Australian Morning Mail
The Clintons and Turnbulls
One can’t escape that the two families seem to like ‘foundations’, it has a cozy sound, one of philanthropy through the pure heart of a samaritan—even Mother Theresa like. Past Australian governments simply adored the Clinton Foundation to the tune of more than $400 million. Gillard is in there somewhere also. Perhaps ‘foundation’ was the lure for Malcolm? The Great Barrier Reef Foundation sounds regal—don’t you think? The Clinton Foundation $400 million odd. The GBRF $444 million—not too much and not too little. Gee, big Mal has a lot of good friends—today. Tomorrow—I dunnow!
Malcolm Turnbull’s office has confirmed that two of the directors of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation — the recipient of a $444 million grant from his government awarded without tender — may have been hosted at the Prime Minister’s home by wife Lucy.
Source: News Corp
PM fends off Lucy’s links to $444m reef grant recipients
The Australian can reveal the head of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s philanthropy committee, Stephen Fitzgerald, a one-time head of Mr Turnbull’s former investment bank Goldman Sachs, was on the board of the European Business Advisory Council at the same time as Mrs Turnbull.
Mr Fitzgerald is also on the council of advisers for the US Studies Centre in Sydney — where Mrs Turnbull is patron — and was on that council while Mrs Turnbull held the role of deputy chair between 2012 and 2015.
The chairman of the philanthropy committee for the Great Barrier Reef Foundation before Mr Fitzgerald, Stephen Roberts, was also on the council of advisers for the US Studies Centre at the same time Mrs Turnbull held ceremonial roles. Mr Roberts resigned from his foundation role in June after being charged with alleged criminal cartel conduct.
Asked yesterday whether Mr Fitzgerald or Mr Roberts had been to the Turnbulls’ home, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “Prior to 2015, as deputy chair of the US Studies Centre, Mrs Turnbull occasionally hosted USSC directors and advisers at her home.”
The revelations will raise more questions about the grant to the foundation but the Prime Minister’s office insists the decision was not a result of connections.
The Australian understands Mrs Turnbull concedes she knows Mr Fitzgerald but says she has not seen him for more than three years and cannot “recall” discussing the Great Barrier Reef Foundation with him.
“Mrs Turnbull is not a director of the European Australian Business Council and has not been for more than a year,” a spokesman for the Prime Minister said.
“The PM’s parliamentary disclosures reflect this. (Mrs Turnbull) has not spoken directly with either man for several years, and does not recall discussing the funding of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation with them.”
He said: “The PM has not discussed this issue with Mr Fitzgerald or Mr Roberts. The government is preserving the Great Barrier Reef for future generations. This initiative will secure jobs and improve the health of the reef. The foundation is the best-placed body to deliver on these goals.”
Asked whose idea the grant was, Mr Turnbull’s spokesman would only say: “The proposal was developed within the Department of the Environment and Energy in consultation with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Department of Finance, Treasury, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.”
The Australian does not suggest the grant was made improperly.
Mr Turnbull has conceded he knows Mr Fitzgerald but says he does not know another Goldman Sachs boss, Keith Tuffley, who was on the Great Barrier Reef Foundation board until he resigned on federal budget day, May 8.
Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg repeatedly refused to say on 2GB yesterday whether the decision to give the $444m to the foundation without tender was Mr Turnbull’s idea. “It’s the government’s idea and it was one of the major announcements … in the budget because we want to save the Barrier Reef,” he said.
“This is the single largest ever investment in the Barrier Reef.”
Labor senator Kristina Keneally said: “There is something fishy about this grant.
“How does a prime minister give away $444m of public money without due diligence, competitive tender or grant application?”
“If Malcolm Turnbull and his family has a personal relationship with one or more of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation board members, that’s even more reason (he) should have ensured this grant decision was taken at arm’s length from him, with the highest standards of probity and contestability, so as to give the public confidence in the decision.”
Prime Minister, former head of Goldman Sachs Australia 1997-2002.
Former deputy chairman and director of US Studies Centre 2012-15 and on the board of directors of the centre 2007-15, including a time when both Great Barrier Reef Foundation directors Stephen Fitzgerald and Stephen Roberts were on the council of advisers for the US Studies Centre. Also on the board of the European Australian Business Council at the same time as Mr Fitzgerald was a fellow director.
The Turnbulls’ son-in-law. A former non-resident fellow at the US Studies Centre.
Former chairman of Goldman Sachs after joining in 1992. Named a managing director in 1998 and a partner in 2002. The current chair of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation Board’s philanthropy committee. On the board of the European Australian Business Council at the same time as Lucy Turnbull. On the council of advisers for the US Studies Centre at the same time Mrs Turnbull was on the board of directors. The PM’s office confirms Mr Fitzgerald may have been hosted by Mrs Turnbull at the Turnbulls’ home.
Former head of Citigroup. Was charged with alleged criminal cartel conduct related to his time at Citigroup. Was chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation philanthropy committee in 2016 and 2017. Resigned from Great Barrier Reef Foundation board in June after he was charged. Was on the council of advisers for the US Studies Centre at the same time as Mrs Turnbull was on the board of directors. The PM’s office confirms he may have been hosted at the Turnbulls’ home.
The Turnbulls’ son. Worked for Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong. The PM’s office says Alex Turnbull ‘does not recall meeting Stephen Fitzgerald’ and ‘they did not work together at Goldman Sachs’.