Turnbull looks after his rich mates — the Great Barrier Reef Foundation scandal

August 9, 2018

At Green Left Weekly, we know how hard it is to keep a not-for-profit campaigning publication going because we have been doing it for nearly 27 years. 

Each year we try to raise $200,000 for the Green Left Fighting Fund through a combination of donations and fundraising events organised by supporters around the country. So far this year we have raised $87,603.

Given we are over halfway through 2018, we will have to step up our fundraising efforts.

But it is a very different story on the other side of the political battle line. 

A bunch of fossil fuel corporations can chuck in a few million dollars, set up a campaign group like the Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) to “protect” the reef and then rock up to banker PM Malcolm Turnbull and ask him for a grant. 

No worries chaps, says the PM, here's $444 million for starters. No need for a tender process or even a grant application, after all, what are big business mates for?
The most outrageous part of #reefgate (as it has been hashtagged) is that so much public money is being lavished on a campaign front for fossil fuel corporations that are actually destroying the Great Barrier Reef.

With Turnbull's generous handout, the GBRF began campaigning in the manner they are accustomed to — by paying the managing director a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year and then quadrupling their pay over the next three.
As for campaigning methods, GBRF used some of its public funds to fly Channel Nine's  Today crew to Hamilton Island on the Whitsundays to do a promo for the group. 
“The @GBRFoundation deserves and will use every cent in its arsenal to save the reef,” Today host Karl Stefanovic dutifully spruiked on the show. What a great use of the $1 million of your money that GBRF set aside for “engagement and communications” expenses.
We know all this thanks to investigative journalist Michael West. He won't be getting a grant from the Turnbull government — you can be sure of that.
Green Left Weekly also won't be getting a fat campaign donation from big business or its mates in government. We'll be turning — as always — to you our readers.
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