Great Barrier reef money and the stink of corruption

By Adam Carlton

The Turnbull government has handed over $444 million to a shonky outfit, which falsely claims that it works for the preservation of the Great Barrier Reef, and this has bounced back to hit the government in the teeth.

The longer this saga goes on, the more is exposed. The Great Barrier Reef Foundation did not even have to go through a tender process to get the money. It turns out that it is a private organisation employing only six people and is supported by major mining corporations like BHP and Rio Tinto, as well as Orica, and Google.

The government has  defended the money was provided and has  the method used, because this organisation was in line with government policy. This is corrupt, because money was handed over in the expectation of procuring an advantage.

Malcolm Turnbull first rubbed shoulders with the corruption industry as a young 29-year old lawyer, shutting down the Costigan royal Commission for media tycoon Kerry Packer, after it had turned its investigation towards corporate crime and Packer’s role in it.

This was not to be the end of the story. Today’s Australian prime minister has something of a track record. A few examples can be mentioned. We will stick to the more recent ones.

Arrangements between the Turnbull and Murdoch families have seen millions of dollars passing hands.

Earlier this year, the Export and Finance Industry Corporation got a taxpayer increase in funding, to the tune of 400 percent. This is $3.5 billion, to use for funding the creation of a weapons industry. The argument is not that government money went into building industry , just who it went to and for what type of industry.

There is the implication that deals have been made here. This is a world dominated by a handful of well-resourced companies operating from a very few rich countries, with far reaching connections. To get into the game of arms exporting, Australia would have to get into bed with them, and second to none, they are up to their necks, in using corruption to grease the wheels of doing business. Something smells here.

Then Turnbull’s association with Andrew Goodwin, who is among those alleged to have been involved in international graft and the payment of bribes, while working on the Snowy 2.0 project, has thrown up questions that have still not been answered. The company who Goodwin was working for, had been banned by the World Bank for bribery allegations before the Australian infrastructure project contract was signed. How the hell then, did they manage to get the deal?

Corruption involving business interests and government is not new in Australia. We can talk about the joh Bjelke Petersen in Queensland in the 1970’s, or the Victorian government’s land deals before that. We can move forward to the endemic corruption in New South Wales. The difference now is that it is on a bigger scale.

Australia is crying out for something to be done about it, and this is generating the call for a national watchdog.

Meanwhile, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation looks like getting its money, despite the many calls for it to be handed back. It will be used to try and ensure that anything done to protect the Reef will be minimum, and this will not be enough to protect it from the threat of destruction. But it will be enough to make more millions for those who have a vested interest in exposing it to danger.

It seems that the environment has become  vehicle  for corruption.

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