Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The truth about Malcolm Turnbull's wealth

Malcolm Bligh Turnbull’s ‘truth’……

The rest of the world’s truth……

The Australian, 11 June 2016:

Last Sunday, Malcolm Turnbull sent out an email — Re: “My Dad” — inviting us all to reflect upon and share the story of his upbringing by his late father, Bruce. It was a deliberate decision by the Prime Minister to personalise the election campaign. The ­exercise was well calculated, but a couple of lines, about Bruce Turnbull in particular, were noticeably selective.

“We didn’t have much money. He was a hotel broker and for most of that time he was battling like a lot of people are — a lot of single parents are, certainly. He did well after a while. In the latter part of his life he kicked a few goals after a lot of effort …”

Malcolm Turnbull the politician has consistently downplayed his father’s success as a small businessman, and the substantial inheritance he received when Bruce died in a plane crash near Gloucester in 1982, age 56.

While researching my biography of the Prime Minister, Born to Rule, I spoke with old friends and business associates of Bruce. They remembered a fit man’s man, sharp witted and deal savvy. Many profiles over the years make the easy assumption that Malcolm Turnbull inherited his celebrated intelligence from his mother, the actor, writer and academic Coral Lansbury.
Having spoken to some of Bruce’s mates, I am not so sure.

Prestige property agent Bill Bridges, who has sold and resold many of Sydney’s best homes over a career spanning 50 years, was in a running club with Bruce that included Bruce Gyngell and NSW Supreme Court judge John Sackar. Bridges told me that “there was no one more streetwise than Bruce Turnbull, and that’s the best education you can get”.

Bruce Turnbull was a country boy and former electrician from Maitland, near Newcastle, who came to Sydney in his twenties. Bruce truly was self-made. He married Coral a year after Malcolm was born in 1954 and for the most part the couple lived in a flat on New South Head Road, Vaucluse, in Sydney’s salubrious eastern suburbs, which land title records show Bruce co-owned through a private company.

Young Malcolm lived here happily, walking to and from Vaucluse Public School. In 1963, he was sent to board at Sydney Grammar’s preparatory school at well-to-do but distant St Ives. What he would not have known is that his parents’ marriage was failing. Coral had fallen in love with another academic and she left Bruce suddenly, taking the furniture — and the cat — and moving to New Zealand, where she remarried.

This was undoubtedly a tough time for Bruce and his son. They moved out of the Vaucluse flat and into a series of rented flats — including one in Gladswood Gardens, a red-brick block in a dead-end street in Double Bay.

During the next five years, Bruce’s hotel business really hit its straps and by 1970, when Malcolm was in Year 10, he had bought a luxurious three-bedroom apartment in Point Piper — a stone’s throw from the waterfront mansion Malcolm Turnbull lives in now. The apartment had smashing water views and cost Bruce $36,000. Today it is worth millions. When not boarding at Randwick — where he moved once he reached high school — this was Malcolm’s base for most of the next decade.

Bruce added to his portfolio in the 1970s, buying a unit in Bellevue Hill and two houses in Randwick. He almost doubled his money on a slice of the historic Hermitage ­Estate in Vaucluse, which he sold within 18 months to a company owned by Kerry Packer, a powerful early ­patron to his son.

Malcolm, who worked as a journalist through his years of law study, inherited his ­father’s penchant for property investing, and started early: at age 23 he bought a semi-detached house in inner-Sydney Newtown for almost $50,000 and at age 25 he bought a Redfern terrace for $40,000. He sold both for tidy profits. Turnbull bought his own first home, for an undisclosed sum in Potts Point, after returning from his Rhodes scholarship at Oxford University and marrying Lucy Hughes.

Bruce Turnbull was semi-retired by 1982, when he laid down almost $600,000 to buy a stunning farm at Rossgole, near Scone, which Malcolm has since expanded and which ABC viewers have seen on Australian Story and Kitchen Cabinet.

It is difficult to get the full picture of Bruce’s estate because it was accumulated before property records were computerised, and pre-ASIC. But friends say he, like many a real estate agent, would keep the best hotel deals for himself and his partners, picking up watering holes in thirsty locations like St Marys in Sydney’s west, Warners Bay at Lake Macquarie, and Newcastle……

Malcolm was also a hotel ­licensee, and on top of all this was getting a steady income stream from a 10 per cent share of the earnings from his broking licence, which he had contracted out…..

A glowing 1988 magazine profile estimated Turnbull inherited about $2 million when his father died, which would be worth almost $7m in today’s dollars. To inherit such a sum at the age of 28 is a life-changing event in anyone’s language. Turnbull went on to make a motza, but people who knew both father and son well point out, “he inherited a motza, too”……

Certainly Turnbull carried some resentment at his father. A flash of insight comes from an unpublished screenplay about the 1986 Spycatcher trial, by Turnbull’s old friend the late Bob Ellis and Stephen Ramsay. The script was written with the creative collaboration of Malcolm. It is fascinating to read a section where Malcolm, talking to his wife during a low point in the trial, throws down his whisky glass in despair, smashing it, and tells Lucy:
Malcolm: I wish dad was alive.
Lucy: (alarmed by this) You hated him.
Malcolm: I know. (Getting up, punching the door) But I didn’t want him dead. Not so soon.

After his success in the Spycatcher case, Turnbull turned his back on his promising career in the law and used his inheritance to set up a cleaning company, Allcorp, with then recently resigned NSW premier Neville Wran. He also founded a merchant bank with Nicholas Whitlam, son of the former prime minister (both Packer and Larry Adler gave their financial backing for a short time).

Striking out on his own, Turnbull was hungry and savage. Packer famously said he would not like to come between the young Malcolm and a sack of gold. It was not the trappings of wealth he was chasing but the substance: the independence of not having to work for someone else and the security that comes with prime real estate.

Malcolm had his father’s nose for a deal. During the next 15 years, he made a fortune as a merchant banker, as an adviser to Fairfax, an investor in unbelievably risky ventures such as logging in the Solomon Islands and gold mining in Siberia, and as an early backer of OzEmail and shareholder and partner in Goldman Sachs, where he helped Rodney Adler sell doomed insurer FAI to HIH.

By 1999, Turnbull had debuted on the BRW Rich List with a fortune of $65m. After Goldman Sachs listed on the New York Stock Exchange the following year, Turnbull’s fortune was bumped up to $90m, and that was conservative. It has more than doubled since, mainly by appreciation. The building blocks were in place by 2001, when Turnbull turned his attention to politics.

Nowadays, people who know Turnbull say he wears his wealth rather like a hair shirt. The PM does not apologise for his success, but he goes close sometimes, acknowledging there are “taxi drivers that work harder than I did”.

The PM consistently downplays his father’s wealth and his inheritance because he wants to underline that he is a self-made man. This is a hot-button issue for voters: they respect someone who gets rich off their own effort, but not someone who inherits.

By any reckoning, Turnbull had unbelievable advantages. Reading through Twitter feed #MalcolmWasSoPoor gives a flavour of the cynicism surrounding Turnbull’s “battler” story. Could Turnbull have done it all without his inheritance? Given his abilities, connections and prodigious work ethic, almost certainly yes. But did he? No.

In 1957 when this article was published in The Sydney Morning Herald's Women's Section the average female annual income was £1,200 pounds a year. Malcolm's mother was earning over four times that income.

Prior to meeting Bruce Bligh Turnbull she had been the recipient of £9,000 a year (for life or until remarriage) from her late first husband's estate and, in November 1954 reached a lump-sum settlement of $3,100 in lieu of her interest in the the estate.

Malcolm's father would have had an annual income in 1957 that would probably never had fallen below average male earnings, so the combined household income would have been at least £8,700 to £9,700 a year.

I'm so over the Nationals fudging unemployment statistics during this federal election campaign

This was what voters were presented with when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull came into the Northern Rivers to try and shore up Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan.

Echo NetDaily, 17 June 2016:

The prime minister will be campaigning in the marginal Nationals-held seat of Page on Friday, announcing a jobs and investment package.
Kevin Hogan holds Page with a 3.1 per cent margin over former Labor MP Janelle Saffin.
The coalition is desperate to hold Page, which is developing a reputation for being bellwether seat.
The region has one of the worst unemployment records in the state, with youth unemployment nearing 20 per cent in some areas.
The coalition hopes the $25 million investment will give businesses incentives to invest and help boost employment in the region, not to mention boosting their chances of re-election.
It includes providing business innovation grants to help adopt new technology, upgrading local infrastructure and delivering targeted skills and training programs for regional shortages.

Kevin Hogan quoted in the Echo NetDaily on the same day:

Page MP Kevin Hogan welcomed the announcement.
‘The jobless rate in the Clarence Coffs area has fallen to 4.2% – well below the NSW and national average (4.95% and 5.5% respectively),’ Mr Hogan said.
‘Since July almost 2500 people in Page have found on-going work through the Coalition’s Jobactive programme. But more still needs to be done.
‘I set up a local Job Strategy Group over six months ago to bring companies looking to expand to the North Coast. This package will certainly be an incentive for those businesses that have been thinking about making the move but aren’t ready to commit,” he said.

So is Hogan right about unemployment levels on the NSW Far North Coast and the Page electorate in particular?

Here are the facts which he appears to want to fudge by quoting the much broader statistical region – Clarence-Coffs – which extends as far south as the Bellingen area.

The March Quarter unemployment rate for all persons (released 10 June 2016) in relevant local government areas:

Tweed LGA – 7.6%
Richmond Valley LGA – 10.7%
Ballina LGA – 6.1%
Byron LGA – 9.3%
Kyogle LGA – 10.6%
Lismore LGA – 9.4%
Clarence Valley LGA - 6.5%
Coffs Harbour LGA – 5.3%

Ballina – 7,430 people
Ballina Region - 7,999 people
Casino - 5,044 people
Casino Region - 3,225 people
Evans Head – 2,180 people
Kyogle – 3,419 people
Lismore – 7,769 people
Lismore region – 8,166 people
Grafton – 8,756 people
Grafton Region – 7,406 people
Maclean-Yamba-Iluka – 6,880
Coffs Harbour North –  8,711 people

In April 2016 the Youth Unemployment Rate (15-24 years of age) for both the Clarence-Coffs and Tweed regions was 11.9%.
In May 2016 the Youth Unemployment Rate (15-24 years of age) for New South Wales was  11.4%.

And if readers want to know all Coalition's Job Active "ongoing-work" - I refer them to an excerpt from this previous post:

For that amount of money the Abbott-Turnbull Government expects the Jobactive scheme to have placed 380,000 jobseekers in often wage-subsidised employment in 2015-16, at a cost of est.$2,500 per placement covering Employment Fund expenditure, service fees and outcome payments.

Unfortunately 68% of these placements are likely to last only 4 weeks before the person is unemployed once more. I suspect the percentage of temporary jobs is so high because this allows service providers to bill the government again and again for ‘helping’ those same job seekers find other temporary jobs once the initial placement dissolves into thin air and, via the $1.2 billion national wage subsidy pool potentially allows employers to 'churn' new employees on short term contacts so that employers receive financial benefits from the pool but employees are unemployed at contract's end.

None of the departmental employment sustainability measures encompass positions lasting longer than six months, so it is unclear as to whether there is a genuine expectation that job service providers will assist in finding permanent employment for anyone.

In July 2015 when Jobactive Australia commenced, the real national unemployment rate was probably running at est. 8.7% and by March 2016 it had climbed to est.11% according Roy Morgan Research vs ABS Employment Estimates (1992-2016).
In November 2013 the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) seasonally adjusted combined unemployment and underemployment rate (underutilisation) was 13.5% and by February 2016 this combined rate was 14.2%.

In September 2013 the average number of weeks an unemployed person spent looking for a job was 39, with an est.134,400 people looking for 52 weeks and over.
Under the Abbott-Turnbull Government by March 2016 the average number of weeks had risen to 46.2, with an est. 181,700 people looking for 52 weeks and over. [Australian Bureau of Statistics, Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery, Mar 2016

In June 2014 an est. 123,800 15 to 24 year-olds were looking for full time or part-time work. By March 2016 the number of young people in this category had risen to 133,000. [ibid]

The Brotherhood of St. Laurence reported on 14 March 2016 that some rural and regional areas were grappling with youth unemployment rates above 20 per cent.

Richmond-Tweed (including Tweed Heads, Byron Bay, Lismore, Mullumbimby) in the NSW Northern Rivers region had a youth unemployment rate of 14.5% in January 2015 and by January 2016 this rate had risen to 17.4% [Brotherhood of St Laurence, Australia’s Youth Unemployment Hotspots: Snapshot March 2016, p. 3]

Monday, 27 June 2016

Australian Federal Election 2016: Nationals Nathan Quigley losing votes one Inbox at a time

I received this copy of a recent email exchange from an incensed Northern Rivers voter, upset with the political data mining involved in delivering the National Party message into his Inbox.

Especially one that informed him that Kevin Hogan favoured a far-right, homophobic, religio-political group (founded by Rev. Fred Nile) as the second preference on his How To Vote cards.

This reader's email to North Coast Voices was accompanied with the final comment "What a pack of b*stards!!!"

The email exchange..........

From: [redacted]  <redacted>
Date: 25 June 2016 at 7:16:09 PM AEST
To: Nathan Quigley <nathan@nswnationals.org.au>
Subject: Re: In one week…
Excuse me Mr Quigley,
I don't recall communicating with you.
How did you obtain my email address?
[Redacted contact details]

On 25 Jun 2016, at 3:41 PM, Nathan Quigley <nathan@nswnationals.org.au> wrote:
In one week Australians will vote in one of the most important elections in a generation.

We'll have a choice between staying on course with an experienced government under Malcolm Turnbull - a government with a plan to keep our economy strong - or a gamble with deeper deficits in an uncertain world under Bill Shorten and Labor.

That's why it's important for every single voter to go to their polling location informed.
Correctly filling in your ballot is ESSENTIAL to ensure we have sound management in Canberra and a strong local voice for the Northern Rivers and Coffs Coast.
Nathan Quigley
State Director – NSW Nationals
P.S. Remember, we need your support. Please CLICK HERE to download your "How to Vote" flyer for Page.
This message was sent from the NSW Nationals and
authorised by N Quigley, Level 2, 107 Pitt St, Sydney.
Click here to unsubscribe.


From: Matt Kay [mailto:Matt.Kay@nswnationals.org.au]
Sent: Sunday, June 26, 2016 12:15 PM
To: [redacted] <redacted>
Subject: RE: In one week…

Hi [name redacted],

It was supplied by Kevin Hogan’s office. I’ve unsubscribed you from our list.



A little bit of local history for Australian Infrastructure Developments, its Queensland backers and potential overseas investors

Since time immemorial there have been people living in the Clarence Valley

Some families have been in this valley for thousands of years, some for over one hundred years and some less than ten years, but they are all part of the same vibrant local communities.

Connection with the Clarence River and its flood plain runs deep in these communities.

Their allegiance has always been Clarence first when the valley needs protection, but do understand they are also part of the bigger Northern Rivers region of New South Wales.

In the 1850’s Clarence Valley residents successfully resisted moves to place the region within the boundaries of the Colony of Queensland by sending petitions to the British Parliament.

Indigenous communities along the Clarence River protected the reef “Dirragun” in the 1950s, from NSW Government plans to remove this important cultural and spiritual site at the river mouth, by speaking up about its importance.

People from the Clarence Valley were involved in the battle of Terania Creek in 1979 and subsequent protests which defeated NSW Wran Government and timber industry plans for extensive logging of native forest in the Terania and Mt. Nardi areas, eventually leading to the creation of the 8,080ha Nightcap National Park which was World Heritage listed in 1986.

In the 1980s Clarence Valley residents helped save the Washpool rainforest.

In 1988-1989 the Clarence Valley successfully opposed the Wran & Greiner governments’ support of the Daishowa proposal to establish a pulp paper mill on the Clarence River.

The Yaegl people of the Clarence Valley launched a native title claim for the Clarence River from Harwood Bridge to the sea in 1996, in part to protect the Clarence River estuary from overdevelopment which would destroy environment and connection to land. Native Title was granted in 2015.

1999 saw the Ross gold mine at Timbarra (in the upper reaches of the Clarence River catchment) permanently closed due to sustained opposition from the northern NSW region, including people in the Clarence Valley.

Along came 2007 and the Clarence Valley saw off the federal Howard Government’s proposal to dam and divert water from the Clarence River catchment for the benefit of mines and irrigators in inland New South Wales.

In July 2014 the value we placed on protecting the river systems and ensuring water security for the region helped convinced Labor's Janelle Saffin to co-sponsor an urgency motion at a NSW State Conference calling for a CSG Free Northern Rivers.

By 2015 the valley had also been part of the broad community movement which sent the NSW Baird Government and the coal seam gas industry packing from the Northern Rivers region:

 Photographs contributed

Now the 2016 federal election campaign has rolled around and the Clarence Greens are saying this:

While market goers in Yamba on 26 June were receiving handouts like this flyer:
And taking home this bumper sticker:

The question that Australian Infrastructure Developments Pty Ltd, its backers and potential investors in the Yamba industrial port plan, have to ask themselves is this; “Will the Clarence Valley show us the door as well?”

I rather suspect that it will.

Australian Federal Election 2016: and the slips keep getting bigger

The Liberal Party of Australia stumbling its way towards polling day……

The Sydney Morning Herald, 16 June 2016:

The Liberal Party is scrambling to contain the fallout over taxpayer-funded cash injections from its software company Parakeelia, amid allegations it failed to inform the corporate regulator of changes to company shareholdings for 15 years due to a "clerical error".

Parakeelia has emerged as a significant threat to the Coalition after revelations that state and federal Liberal MPs direct part of their taxpayer-funded allowances towards the company, which in turn paid money into the accounts of the Liberal Party. 

Liberal MPs pay $2500 a year in allowances to Parakeelia, with state MPs collectively chipping in more. The Liberal Party-owned company has paid more than $1 million into party accounts over recent years……

Melbourne businessman Ron Walker has told Fairfax Media he resigned his 98 per cent shareholding in Parakeelia in 2002 – and that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull should have assumed his role in the controversial company when Mr Turnbull took over as the party's treasurer.

Melbourne businessman Ron Walker has told Fairfax Media he resigned his 98 per cent shareholding in Parakeelia in 2002 – and that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull should have assumed his role in the controversial company when Mr Turnbull took over as the party's treasurer.

But ASIC reports show Mr Walker was still listed as a 98 per cent shareholder in Parakeelia Pty Ltd as of Wednesday afternoon.

"That's impossible," Mr Walker said in an interview late Wednesday. "I was assured that I had resigned. I relinquished all other directorships.

"Malcolm took over from me. He succeeded me as federal treasurer of the party. He assumed all responsibilities I had on that day."

Under the Corporations Act, companies must inform ASIC of changes to their shareholders within 28 days. Breaches carry a maximum of fine of about $10,000.

In a subsequent phone call, Mr Walker said the Liberal Party was scrambling to correct the error.

"[The letter] was never sent to ASIC – clerical error," Mr Walker said. Mr Walker said Liberal Party federal director Tony Nutt was "taking care of the legal side to make sure a letter is sent to ASIC tomorrow".

The Liberal Party did not respond to questions about whether this lapse amounted to a breach of the Act…..

Fairfax has previously reported Mr Walker's shareholdings in Parakeelia. In 2007, then federal director Brian Loughnane described Mr Walker's ongoing involvement in the company as an "oversight" and said he would discuss with Mr Walker removing him from the company.

Mr Walker used the same words and blamed former director and outgoing MP Andrew Robb for his continued involvement.

The Liberal Party has said it will co-operate with any investigation by the Auditor-General.


The Guardian, 16 June 2016:

Malcolm Turnbull is staring down an incipient campaign by conservatives to return Tony Abbott to the front bench if the Coalition wins on 2 July.

Turnbull told reporters in Sydney on Thursday the government’s ministerial line up will remain the same as it is currently if the Coalition prevails over Labor in the looming election.

“Can I say to you, as I’ve said before, the ministry I’m taking to the election will be the ministry after the election if the Australian people choose to return my government to office,” the prime minister told reporters.

Turnbull repeated the formulation in his daily campaign press conference:“I can tell you what my ministry will be if we win, it will be the ministry as it is today.”

The prime minister was asked about Abbott’s potential elevation after the immigration minister Peter Dutton – a substantial figure in the Coalition’s conservative faction – said he thought “some people” would push for Abbott’s return to a front bench spot post-election.

“Well, I think some people will push for that and I think it’s an issue for Malcolm Turnbull, as it is for all of us, that are ministers or want to be ministers in a Turnbull government,” Dutton told 2GB on Thursday morning.


Embattled Liberal candidate Chris Jermyn may have broken electoral laws by claiming he was living in a house that didn't exist.

In 2013, Mr Jermyn was enrolled to vote in the federal election in the Victorian electorate of McEwen - the same seat he is now trying to win for the Coalition.
He enrolled using an address in the small Victorian regional town of Christmas Hills, which is in McEwen.

But there are two problems. The address was - and still is - an empty block of land. ASIC documents also show Mr Jermyn's father, businessman Peter Jermyn, sold the 40-hectare property on July 26, 2013, about six weeks before the federal election.

Fairfax Media understands Mr Jermyn – who shot to prominence last month when his attempt to ambush Bill Shorten at a campaign event backfired - was enrolled at this address until 2015. However, at no time did he actually live there.

According to the Australian Electoral Commission, the law requires that one must have lived at an address for more than one month before one can enrol there.
"Some degree of permanence, or continuity of living at the address shown on the electoral roll is a vital legal requirement before you should change your enrolment," the AEC says on its website.

Publicly available records for one of Mr Jermyn's companies, Mooter Media, list his residential address in 2014 as Queens Lane, Melbourne, which is in the Labor electorate of Melbourne Ports.

Mr Jermyn's social media accounts also indicate he had been living in Melbourne, not Christmas Hills……

Under the Criminal Code, making any false or misleading statement in any enrolment or electoral papers is an offence that can carry a maximum penalty of 12 months' imprisonment.
Mr Jermyn issued a statement saying he used the address because it was the place he intended to live after he returned from working overseas.

"I intended to build on the property and plans were drafted," he said.

He says he lived overseas for most of 2013 but returned to Australia briefly several times. He says he used his parent's address in Melbourne as a mailing address for business purposes only.

"I will be making no further comment.".

Many Victorian Liberals are furious Mr Jermyn has once again distracted from the campaign, especially given there was a push at a recent administrative committee for him to be dumped before the close of nominations.

But it is understood that move was resisted by state president Michael Kroger.

"You have got to look into these things but Chris will remain the candidate and he's done a very good job," Mr Kroger said on Thursday.

Earlier this week, Fairfax Media revealed details of Mr Jermyn's bold but failed plan to create a new multimillion-dollar global reality competition…..


Two Liberal Party politicians, Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia Josh Frydenberg & Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer proudly sponsored by real estate businesses:

Note what laughingly passes for political advertising authorisation at the bottom of the Kelly O’Dwyer corflute.

Australian Electoral Commission, Electoral Backgrounder: Electoral advertising:

The effect of the above is that the closer to the due date for the holding of an election (for example, the 3-year term for the expiry of the House of Representatives in section 28 of the Constitution) the more likely that a reference to one of the above matters will be 'likely to affect voting'. This will therefore be an electoral matter that requires the inclusion of the authorisation details set out in section 328…..

Section 328 requires electoral advertisements to include the name and full street address of the person who authorised the advertisement, as well as the name and place of business of the printer of the advertisement, at the end of the advertisement. This ensures that anonymity does not become a protective shield for irresponsible or defamatory statements. The inclusion of the street address details enables legal proceedings to be issued and served.

Paragraph 328(1)(b) states that 'the name and place of business of the printer appears at the end thereof'. The purpose of this provision is to facilitate the taking of legal action and the serving of legal documents where a person believes that they have been defamed or otherwise have some legal cause of action arising from the publication of the material. Accordingly, the AEC has the view that the details of the actual street address of the printer at which the business of printing is undertaken is required to be included to comply with this requirement.

* Images on Twitter at @BuzzFeedOzPol

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Australian Federal Election 2016: Mack the Dog rulz!

Winning the federal election one drover’s dog at a time J

If you're still buffering blame Malcolm!


First as Minister for Environment and Water Resources in the Howard Government Malcolm Bligh Turnbull tried to steal water from the Clarence River catchment area, then as Minister for Communications in the Abbott Government he managed to destroy the National Broadband Network leaving regional Australia struggling with third world Internet connections.

What will he do next as Prime Minister?