Malcolm Turnbull – The Goldman-churian Candidate?

20 Jul

h/t to @JamesJohnsonCHR for inspiring the title phrase.

Regular readers of this blog will doubtless not all be Twitter users.

And so, many will not have had opportunity to bear witness to the following example of the intransigence of our politicians, when it comes to transparency concerning possible conflicts-of-interest.

In particular, that of Mr Malcolm Turnbull, who I have written of previously with respect to his past associations and their possible bearing on his long and strident advocacy for an Australian emissions trading scheme (and only an emissions trading scheme) –

Compassion For Malcolm – He Just Wants His Balls Back

Malcolm’s Motive: His ETS Lie Unravelled

Doing God’s Work – Turnbull An Angel Of ‘Death Derivatives’

“Turnbull Once Said To Me, ‘You Capitalise On Chaos'”

On Thursday 14th July, prompted by another blog article I published that day “Spread The Word – ‘Untouchable’ Turnbull Is A Goldman-Plated Turd” , the following exchange took place on Twitter between myself and Mr Turnbull, along with interjections from Twitter onlookers.

I’ll not comment with my own views as to what – if any – conclusions might be drawn from Mr Turnbull’s responses, or their implications for the present state of political honesty, transparency, and accountability in our nation.

I will simply leave readers to draw their own conclusions.

If you find it too hard to follow, then skip past this Twitter dialogue to the bottom.

There, you will find a very interesting quote from the Royal Commission into the collapse of HIH, which exonerated Mr Turnbull of any wrongdoing … in rather curious circumstances:

* Click on the bold ” @____ ” titles to view original tweets.


@nqcowboy_@barnabyisright@getuppr is such a courageous website there is nowhere can be found the identity of the author


@TurnbullMalcolm Would you care to offer FULL disclosure re Goldman, HIH, FAI, “confidential settlement” Mr Turnbull? @nqcowboy_ #auspol

(Interjection by) @gtwarrior47

@TurnbullMalcolm @BarnabyisRight @ Politics is a dirty game Malcom.The goal is to get the labor/green coalition off the treasury bench,


@gtwarrior47 Disagree. The goal is to have an honest, open, transparent Parliament, w/out conflicts-of-interest etc @TurnbullMalcolm #auspol

(Interjection by) @makiwa

@BarnabyisRight Agree. Without full accountability and transparency, we will only have an illusion of change! @gtwarrior47 @turnbullmalcolm


@BarnabyisRight@nqcowboy_ and who are you? Or are you as cowardly as you are scurilous?


@TurnbullMalcolm Not relevant, Mr Turnbull. What is relevant are the facts viz GS, HIH, FAI, ur “confidential settlemnt” @nqcowboy_

(Interjection by) @snowytristan

@BarnabyisRight @TurnbullMalcolm @nqcowboy_ We would like to to know Malcolm. Sounds like Gillard and her cover-ups.


@snowytristan @barnabyisright @nqcowboy_ ok whats the question?


@TurnbullMalcolm RU willing 2 provide public w/ ALL documentation viz GS/HIH/FAI “confidential settlement”? @snowytristan @nqcowboy_ #auspol


@TurnbullMalcolm RU willing 2 publish sworn affidavit that u’ve 0 obligations of any kind 2 GS/their CT interests? @snowytristan @nqcowboy_


@TurnbullMalcolm RU willing 2 publish sworn affidavit that u will receive 0 benefit – financ/otherwise – from ETS? @snowytristan @nqcowboy_


@BarnabyisRight a bit rich from someone who wont reveal his name..but I have no obligations to GS re carbon – only a paranoid wd say I did.

(Interjection by) @KeeptheBshonest

@TurnbullMalcolm @barnabyisright MT, we understand your frustration you will never be PM of Aust but calling folks Paranoid is a bit rich!!


@KeeptheBshonest @barnabyisright conspiracy theorists usually are. Especially when they dont have the guts to say who they are.

(Interjection by) @KeeptheBshonest

@TurnbullMalcolm @barnabyisright No Guts is about you sucking it up and “fully supporting your leader” in the fight for govt old mate, JS


@TurnbullMalcolm You are obfuscating Mr Turnbull. Ad hom. is not honest response to the 3 simple Q’s posed, implies guilt. @KeeptheBshonest


RU willing to publish sworn affidavit to that effect? @TurnbullMalcolm “..I have no obligations to GS re carbon” #auspol


@TurnbullMalcolm RU willing 2 provide public w/ ALL documentation viz GS/HIH/FAI “confidential settlement”? @FixNSWLegal @JamesJohnsonCHR


@TurnbullMalcolm RU willing 2 publish sworn affidavit that u, family, assoc’s, will receive 0 benefit – financ/otherwise, from ETS? #auspol


@BarnabyisRight If you are not prepared to say who you are, then I regret our interesting dialogue will have to come to an end.


@TurnbullMalcolm Sir, it appears you are not prepared to openly, directly, & honestly respond to reasonable questions of public record.

(Interjection by) @NOH8ER

@TurnbullMalcolm That’s not reasonable – what matters is the value of what is said, not who says it, Malcolm. cc.@BarnabyisRight

(Interjection by) @maatilda

@TurnbullMalcolm This tweep has a large following and if you dont respond you condemn yourself @BarnabyisRight


@TurnbullMalcolm As I iterated earlier Mr Turnbull, who I am is irrelevant to the facts. You are the public “servant”. Pls answer direct Q’s

(interjection by) @joneschris79

@TurnbullMalcolm @barnabyisright – don’t let it end. Best Aussie twitter 2n and fro ever. Plus…we want the answers.


@KeeptheBshonest @TurnbullMalcolm @barnabyisright I actually wanted MT to be PM but the GS affair is unsettling.


@NOH8ER @turnbullmalcolm @barnabyisright never liked the kid who took his bat & left a game mid way through because a point went against him


@KeeptheBshonest Never liked “public servants” who attack the man when asked simple, direct Q’s of national import @NOH8ER @turnbullmalcolm


@BarnabyisRight @noh8er @turnbullmalcolm you keep asking the tough q’s mate, MT lacks ticker, that’s why Libs turfed him out


@KeeptheBshonest No, disagree. Think Mr @turnbullmalcolm has lots of ticker. Q’s go to issue of obligation, opportunity, not courage @noh8er


@TurnbullMalcolm I looked forward to you as an alternative to Abbott, then I found out about the Goldman Sachs affair. @BarnabyisRight

Readers may be interested to consider the following excerpt from an article commenting on the HIH-FAI-Goldman-Turnbull affair.

It is noteworthy that Mr Turnbull’s standard defence when this topic is raised, is to point to his exoneration by the HIH Royal Commission.

Perhaps the following may assist readers who are unfamiliar with just how … questionable … the efficacy of our legal system is, in their own reflections on whether or not Mr Turnbull has anything to hide.

From nineMSN ‘Money’, 23 May 2008 (my emphasis added) –

One question [to Mr Turnbull], though, got a very terse response, suggesting it might have made its target a little uncomfortable. It was badly asked, revealing the questioner’s lack of knowledge about the issue. But the question on Turnbull’s expectations as to the timing of the HIH liquidator’s legal action against him (and a number of other respondents involved not with HIH, but the insurer it acquired in 1998, FAI Insurances) earned the questioner a firm lecture.

The royal commission report into the HIH collapse had found no wrong-doing on his part, Turnbull told the questioner. This is true. The HIH liquidator will struggle in a courtroom to make any case against Turnbull.

Turnbull’s answer at the National Press Club, and the predicament in which he finds himself, must be viewed in the context of the fact that the royal commission spent more time examining the deal in contention – HIH’s 1998 takeover of FAI – than any other transaction. For about three months, anyone even remotely connected with the takeover was grilled intensively.

In the end, the royal commissioner Neville Owen became impatient and ordered his counsel assisting to move on. Owen was obliged to find that the acquisition did, in fact, contribute to the collapse of the merged company.

Turnbull’s role as adviser to FAI in its “defence” against HIH was complicated by the fact that he and Goldman Sachs had considered leading a recapitalisation of FAI a few months before HIH launched its bid, partly using the investment bank’s own money. This proposal was called Project Firelight.

Goldman Sachs’ New York office finally canned the idea in early September 1998 for reasons that were never fully explained, but most likely because of volatile global markets at the time (very similar to recent subprime global liquidity squeeze) caused at the time by the Russian bond crisis and the Asian currency crisis.

In his subsequent role as adviser to the FAI board in relation to the HIH bid, Turnbull made a presentation to FAI directors in support of his recommendation that they accept the HIH offer, which was 47 percent above the previous FAI share price. The presentation covered three scenarios, one of which was similar to the Project Firelight proposal.

The royal commission found that he didn’t directly tell any of the board members about the earlier exercise. Turnbull told the royal commission he assumed that managing director Rodney Adler, who had hired him, had informed the board. Adler said he told John Landerer, the chairman. Landerer denied this. Who do you believe? Is it important?

After three months and millions of dollars of expenditure chasing the line that Turnbull and Goldman Sachs were somehow responsible for the collapse of HIH, this is what the royal commissioner says in his concluding remarks about their role in the FAI takeover:

It would have been of assistance to the directors of FAI to have known that GSA had spent considerable time in the course of 1998 analysing a very similar proposal in which Goldman Sachs might invest its own money but had decided not to proceed with it.

Such information should have been revealed to the FAI board by a financial or corporate adviser, like GSA, because it would have assisted the directors to decide whether to appoint GSA as their financial adviser on the takeover. It would also have assisted the directors in forming their opinions about the viability of the ‘break up and sell clean general insurance company’ proposal, which [was] presented by GSA as a potentially more attractive alternative than the takeover.

The fact that these matters were not revealed to the board of FAI is regrettable. This is particularly so in light of the evidence of some directors that it might have affected their attitude to the appointment of GSA.”

Having heard months of very aggressive evidence from his counsel assisting, designed to build a case against Turnbull and Goldman Sachs, this was all the royal commissioner was prepared to say about their role.

It would be a brave person who would try to predict the outcome of a court case, given the dysfunction of the court system, but this is hardly the basis of a successful $500 million claim. Turnbull’s protests that there is no case against him have merit.

I will leave it to readers to judge for themselves whether they agree with the concluding comment by the author of that piece.

As we know, just over 1 year after that article was written, Goldman Sachs did in fact make a “confidential” settlement on Mr Turnbull’s behalf.  Meaning that he did not have to suffer the embarrassment and indignity of facing up to the charges in the NSW Supreme Court. This occurred in mid-2009.  Right at the time that Mr Turnbull as leader of the Opposition was negotiating the bipartisan agreement with Kevin Rudd to introduce an ETS in Australia (dubbed at that time, the “CPRS”).

The implications of which, given Goldman Sachs’ extremely prominent role in emissions trading and the drive for globalised emissions trading, I leave to readers to ponder for themselves.

3 Responses to “Malcolm Turnbull – The Goldman-churian Candidate?”

  1. JMD July 20, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    Have I interpreted correctly that Goldman Sachs made a settlement on Turnbull’s behalf while he was opposition leader? That should raise questions in & of itself.

    Also, I take note of “the Russian bond crisis and the Asian currency crisis”. Turnbull was head of Goldman Sachs Australia then? Remember, this was when Howard & Costello ‘sold’ the gold, Goldman Sachs is a major bullion bank or as the RBA euphemistically calls them “participants in the gold market”. Turnbull probably ‘advised’ the government in its sale & he winds up leader of the same political party.

    A tangled web.

  2. Red or Blue? July 29, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    Goldman Sachs = Rothschild.

    That name is the rabbit hole.

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