Monday, 1 February 2016

Former Australian defence minister Kevin Andrews skips first week of parliament to address Koch Brothers' funded U.S. Heritage Foundation event

Former prime minister Tony Abbott was a guest speaker at an Alliance Defending Freedom dinner on 28 January 2016 and now his political ally former defence minister Kevin Andrews is scheduled to deliver a speech at a Heritage Foundation event being held in the Allison Auditorium, Washington DC.

This speech can be watched live online from 3am AEDT (Sydney) on 3 February 2016 at .

Like Alliance Defending Freedom, the Heritage Foundation is a far-right American organisation which seeks to influence federal and state elections, as well as politicians and government policy.

It is a pro-gun, pro-coal, pro-deregulation, anti-universal health care, anti-gay marriage, free market advocate with an online magazine at It appears to see religion and traditional morality as playing a significant role in American public life.

This foundation has documented links to the Koch Brothers – two oil billionaires who are alleged to have significantly bankrolled the Republican Party for years and are often characterized as being in the business of buying politicians.

Ties to the Koch Brothers
The Heritage Foundation has received funding from organizations with connections to the Koch brothers. In 2012, the Heritage Foundation received $650,000 from the Claude R. Lambe Foundation, which was one of the Koch Family Foundations before it closed in 2013. The Lambe Foundation contributed at least $4.8 million to the Heritage Foundation between 1998 and 2012.
In recent years, the Heritage Foundation has also received funding from Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund, including $53,300 in 2010 and $69,850 in 2012. The Koch brothers have donated millions of dollars to Donors Trust through the Knowledge and Progress Fund, and possibly other vehicles. [SourceWatch, Koch Wiki]

Andrews has a long history with the Heritage Foundation going back until at least 2009 and he is described on its website as being from The Heritage Foundation.

After the Heritage Foundation event Kevin Andrews is not jetting straight home to represent his electorate for what remains of the first week of 2016 parliamentary sittings. He will remain in Washington for the 63rd National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday at which the US president traditionally speaks.

Because it appears that invited guests have to purchase a ticket to prayer breakfast events, I will be looking closely at the Member for Menzies next claim for expense reimbursement, as I can see no reason why Australian taxpayers should be paying for his personal religious junket.

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