Thursday, 28 June 2018

So that champion of silvertails Malcolm Bligh Turnbull thinks mentioning his wealth in public is a form of class warfare?


“They want to attack me having a quid…They want to attack me and Lucy for working hard, investing, having a go, making money, paying plenty of tax, giving back to the community." [Malcolm Bligh Turnbull, The Guardian, 25 June 2018]

“The honourable member has asked about my investments, which are set out in the members' interests disclosure….. If honourable members opposite want to start a politics-of-envy campaign about it, I don't think they'll be telling people anything they don't know.”  
[Malcolm Bligh TurnbullHansard25 June 2018]

“It has embraced the politics of envy and class war”;
[Malcolm Bligh Turnbull speaking about the parliamentary Labor PartyHansard25 June 2018]

“He says I'm a snob." [Malcolm Bligh Turnbull speaking about Labor leader Bill Shorten, Hansard, 19 June 2018]

I can’t speak for anybody else. However I would gladly “attack” the vainglorious Malcolm Bligh Turnbull - not for being wealthy but on the basis that:

(i) during his time practising law he was allegedly not above abusing the legal process, a judge stating in 1984 that he “managed effectively to poison the fountain of justice”;

(ii) he reportedly made millions from the logging industry in the Solomon Islands in the early 1990s – when Hong Kong-listed Axiom Forest Resources of which he was chair virtually clear-felled its holdings and, whose logging practises were considered "amongst the worst in the world";

(iii) he was at the centre of Australia’s biggest corporate failure to date in 2001, as chairman of investment bank Goldman Sachs Australia, and many ordinary working class people lost everything while he walked away virtually unscathed;

(iv) as Water Minister in the Howard Government in 2007 he wanted to wreck water sustainability in the Clarence River catchment area on the NSW Far North Coast in order to satisfy Liberal-Nationals supporters in the Murray-Darling Basin;

(v) as an independently wealthy federal minister in 2007 Malcolm Turnbull was submitting claims to the Dept. of Finance for $175 accommodation costs per night while in Canberra even though he was staying at an ACT residence owned by his wife and, until he was caught out in 2014 also submitted claims of $10 per night if his wife came to stay at his ACT penthouse;

(vi) as chair and managing director of Goldman Sachs Australia and partner in New York-based Gold Sachs and Co. from 1998 to 2001, he helped lay some of the early building blocks for the Global Financial Crisis;

(vii) his political judgement was so poor that, after meeting then public servant and Liberal Party supporter Godwin Grech in private on or about 12 June 2009, he asserted to parliament on 22 June that a forged email was a true document in an effort to bring down the government of the day; 

(viii) he and his government opposed any real wage increase for workers on the minimum wage in a submission to the Fair Work Commission and went on to actively support a cut to penalty rates – safe in the knowledge that their own parliamentary salaries would increase at fairly regular intervals;

(ix) he resisted the creation of the Banking and Finance Royal Commission and set up terms of reference which sought to nobble that commission;

(x) as Communication’s Minister and then Prime Minister he deliberately wrecked Australia’s hope of having world-class Internet connections;

(xi) he continues to move forward with imposing a punitive cashless welfare payment system on the majority of welfare recipients while also continuing the reduction of funding to vital social services; and

(xii) his first response to any challenge to his world view is to sneer at both the questioner and the content of the question.

An more authentic telling of Malcolm Turnbull’s own ‘poor boy made good’ story

Malcolm Bligh Turnbull went to a public primary school at Vaucluse in Sydney’s affluent Eastern Suburbs for about three years. During this period the family income was in the vicinity of £8,700 to £9,700 a year – with his mother earning four times the average female wage as a successful screenwriter.

Then from the age of eight he went to Sydney Grammar School as a border during and after his parent’s divorce proceedings. He received a scholarship for at least part of that time.

When Malcolm was in Year 10, his father bought a luxurious three-bedroom apartment in Point Piper. The apartment had extensive water views and cost Bruce Turnbull est. $36,000. Before that both he and his father had lived in a flat belonging to his mother.

He graduated from university during the years when undergraduate and post-graduate tertiary education was free of course fees in Australia. All this is on the public record.
Malcom Turnbull purchased his first house while still a university undergraduate.

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 bought his own first home as a married man, for an undisclosed sum in Potts Point, after returning from his stint as a Rhodes schlor at Oxford University.

Malcolm Turnbull inherited assets worth an est. $2 million from his hotel-broker father before he turned 29 years of age according to one of his biographers, Paddy Manning.

He went into  a cleaning business with former NSW premier Neville Wran. After the sale of his co-founding interest in IT company Oze Email Ltd for a reported $60 million, 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). 

In 2008 BRW reportedly estimated Malcolm and Lucy's joint wealth as $133 million and, in 2010 he was included in the BRW Rich 200 list for the second year running for having a personal fortune of $186 million. He and his wife Lucy went on to greater wealth which was last jointly estimated to be in the vicinity of $200 million.

His last Statement of Registrable Interests lists a veritable slew of financial investments and an expensive property portfolio shared between he and his wife. 

Malcolm Turnbull’s annual salary as Australia Prime Minister places him in the Top 10 for world leaders and even the most conservative estimation of his total annual income places him in the top 5 per cent in this country.

In the second half of 2016 Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull made a political donation towards the Liberal Party federal election campaign of $1.75 million.

It has been reported that Malcolm Turnbull and his wife give $550,000 annually to charity via the Turnbull Foundationtheir "private ancillary fund" which apparently has a family corporation/s as trustee/s and appears to act as a tax minimisation scheme as the entire $550,000 is potentially 100 per cent tax deductible.

The personal income tax ‘cuts’ recently pass by the Australian Parliament will potentially benefit the Prime Minister, as will the proposed company tax cuts as he owns or co-owns a number of active corporations.

I say potentially, because during the Panama Papers exposé it was revealed that Malcolm Turnbull is not adverse to availing himself of the advantages of international tax havens and likely already pays little tax on much of his financial interests.

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