Tony Thomas :Cheque Mates: Gillard, Bishop & Hillary
The latest give-away was $140 million, announced by Abbott’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in June, 2014. The $140 million pledge went to an amorphous, scandal-plagued US-based education and gender-parity charity chaired since February, 2104, by none other than our ex-PM Julia Gillard, concurrently a prominent member of Hillary Clinton’s official Presidential campaign. The charity is called Global Partnership for Education (GPE).
The Abbott government did not object to Gillard’s appointment to this multi-billion charity. It could have, given Gillard’s unusual behaviours, personally and in her legal capacity, at Slater & Gordon, while for four years in the early 1990s de facto partner of legal client Bruce Wilson, an alleged fraudster ($1m cited) of both employers and unions. The Royal Commission into Trade Union Corruption urged charges against Wilson but described Gillard’s work on his legal facilitation documentation as only “a lapse of professional judgement”. Commissioner Dyson Heydon had harsh words about Gillard’s style of testimony. Both Gillard and Wilson strongly deny wrong-doing.
Why Julie Bishop shifted taxpayers’ $140 million to Gillard’s GPE is a mystery. Was Bishop preparing the way for her own translation in due course to a well-remunerated international sinecure? She has as one template: ex-NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark stepping up to run the United Nations Development Program as Administrator in 2009. Clark was the first woman in that job, which she got a year after her nine years as PM. Many super-top jobs now have “Woman’s turn next” written on them in invisible ink.
Whatever was in Bishop’s mind, how did she get a tick from Abbott for such a huge gift to GPE? Abbott had a huge PM’s Department precisely to alert him against doing dumb stuff. And if his office watchdog Peta Credlin was so astute and all-controlling, why didn’t Credlin raise a literal red flag? Even if Gillard’s on-going politicking in the US escaped Credlin’s attention, surely our Ambassador in Washington, Labor’s Kim Beazley, was taking note and sending home despatches about it?
GPE is one Clinton/Democrat-oriented charity the Coalition has backed. The other is ex-President Bill Clinton’s murky Clinton Foundation, closely entwined with GPE. The Clintons left the White House broke in 2001 (thanks largely to legal bills and payouts to women Bill manhandled; Donald Trump hyperbolically calls Bill “one of the worst abusers of women in U.S. history”). Today, the Clintons have hundreds of millions in their personal bank accounts, with Hillary running a billion-dollar presidential campaign.
Centrepiece of their financial recovery is the Clinton Foundation “charity” and its spin-offs.
And here’s the best bit: just as Australian governments (Labor and Coalition) donated $460m in total to the Global Partnership for Education, so also did Australian governments (Labor and Coalition) deliver $75m to the Clinton Foundation and its satellites in the past decade. That is, our political masters have shipped well over half-a-billion dollars of our foreign-aid money to a couple of high-living US charities run by the Democrat “progressive” set.
I can imagine the howls from the ABC and Fairfax if the Coalition had donated half a billion to “charities” run by the George W Bush camp. But I can’t imagine any Labor government providing any funding to any Bush-entity charity whatsoever.
Our annual aid to the Clinton Foundation began with John Howard in 2006 pledging $25 million over four years. That was in the Bush era. Our aid was to be matched by the Foundation and used for HIV/AIDS work in PNG, Vietnam and China. Funding peaked at $10 million in 2012-13 and continues. Australia is the single biggest foreign-government source of Clinton Foundation funds.
I’ll document the Clinton Foundation in a further article. Back now to Gillard’s Global Partnership for Education…
Fittingly, our new $140 million commitment to GPE was made at a five-star EU-hosted jamboree in Brussels for 800 freeloaders from 91 countries. Other donors included the Islamic Development Bank ($US400m). We all know how keen orthodox Islam is on girls’ equity and intellectual empowerment. A new private donor is “Dubai Cares” – and maybe it does, but under sharia law, unlucky women in the United Arab Emirates get flogged 80-200 lashes lashes for premarital sex. A half-dozen unluckier women in the UAE have been stoned to death for adultery during the past decade.
But never mind. As Julie Bishop put it, “GPE is Australia’s largest multilateral partner in education. It works in 59 countries to help children attend school, increase primary school completion, lift literacy and provide incentives for developing countries to increase their own domestic education funding.” GPE funds involve pooling of funds and implementation by partners ,“with the partner country in the driver’s seat”. These partners are largely kleptocratic African Islamic hell-holes.
GPE has an unwieldy membership of 65 basket-case countries – coyly described as “fragile”; First World donor states, such as Australia; NGOs; “professional teacher bodies”, and private donors and foundations. It has spent $US4.5 billion on aid in the past decade. GPE’s stated aim is to raise funds to educate 57 million out-of-school kids from poorest nations and 250 million illiterate kids. (There’s plenty of those in Australia, no thanks to teachers’ unions.)
Juila Gillard, as PM, had already tipped in $22m to GPE in 2010-11 and followed up in late 2011 with a gargantuan $270m four-year pledge. This pledge dwarfed those from a host of comparable Western donors, combined. GPE’s grateful CEO Alice Albright, daughter of President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1997-01), successfully lobbied for Gillard as honorary chair of GPE in late 2013.
The GPE post has enabled Gillard to swan around the world in company with the elite mega-rich, exuding compassion for the unfortunate. Other high-class global virtue-signallers about girls’ education (a good cause per se) have also taken up Gillard as speaker and cheerleader. Only this month the new British government (Conservative) was quoting her endorsing their foreign aid for gender-equitable education.
Instead of doing her best for unfortunate girls by staying clear of US partisan politics (why alienate Republicans?), Gillard last October was featured fawning over Hillary in an official Hillary presidential campaign video about the Democrat aspirant’s turn as Secretary of State (2009-13), saying:
“She was determined to see that women take their place as economic partners in their community, and take their place as political leaders in their community.” [Hubby Bill’s pro-activity with the female sex went unmentioned]
Gillard also praises the “calibre” of Clinton’s intellect in engaging with the Asia-Pacific region. She was a “shaper of conversations, and that’s going to be remembered for many, many long years to come as a diplomatic breakthrough for the US”, Gillard tells the camera.
— The Briefing (@TheBriefing2016) December 16, 2015
In a follow-on video for Hillary, she’s alongside Madeleine Albright (as mentioned, mother of GPE’s CEO Alice). Last December Gillard starred again in a Hillary pro-election video bagging Trump over his Muslim policies, intoning,
“If I was an American I would want to see the reputation of my country always getting stronger and stronger and never at risk because of cheap and easy statements being injected into complex foreign policy debates.”
So let’s chart the action:
- As Australian PM, she commits $A292m of our money into GPE, a hugely disproportionate amount, into what is supposedly a non-partisan US-based global charity
- Ex-PM Gillard in early 2014 is installed by GPE as chair
- While chair, and without any disclaimer re her GPE leadership, she takes further starring roles as Hillary Clinton backer for president and rubbisher of Hillary’s Republican opponent.
- This compromises the GPE non-political brand as effectively as if the chair of the Australian Red Cross had fronted with Bill Shorten in Labor Mediscare election ads, bagging Malcolm Turnbull.
- Gillard is enveloped in new status as global icon for the “progressive” charity set.
On October 24, 2013, by the way, when Gillard was being lined up for GPE chair, she was a key speaker with Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Al Gore in Washington DC for the Centre for American Progress (CAP). CAP was founded and until 2014 chaired by John Podesta, chairman of Hillary’s presidential campaign, and who was earlier President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff and latterly an Obama counsellor. Gillard’s topic, you will be surprised to know, was “critical policy issues and the bold ideas needed to tackle them”.
Another Gillard gig after installation was to the “Sustainable Development Conference on Development Finance” at the UN in July, 2015. It was one of those polysyllabic festivals of nothingness capable of drawing up to 11,000 attendees from the ranks of LDC elites and producing multi-thousand-page manifestos, as Canadian blogger Hilary Ostrov has discovered. (You can bang on from that UN podium about educating girls amid crises, and about UN interference with national tax laws, but President Obama had banned mention of terrorism, let alone Islamic terrorism. The T-word got three mentions anyway).
Gillard as GPE chair also went to the Qatar-run World Innovation Summit for Education in late 2015. The situation was beyond satire, as Qatar backs the full sharia law enforcing female subservience.
Chief of Staff at GPE (the No. 2 executive), Alex Palacios, began his stellar career in the US government after working on the Clinton-Gore Transition Team in 1992-93. In late 2014, GPE joined a coalition led by the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) “Commitment to Action for Girls” and unveiled by Hillary Clinton and Gillard. CGI is an arm of the Clinton Foundation.
GPE’s reputation is none-too-flash, notwithstanding a Yes, Minister-style report card by our DFAT in 2012. Even so, DFAT rated GPE as “weak” when judged against the criterion “Plays critical role in improving aid effectiveness through results monitoring”.
GPE management promptly gave the lie to other DFAT positives. The US Government Accountability Project (GAP) discussed last February a pre-Gillard staff mismanagement episode at GPE in 2012, involving processes “tainted by irregularities” and non-transparency. However, under Gillard’s watch as chair in February, 2015, the senior executive culprit was promoted rather than punished. The GAP report found “there is abuse of authority, impunity and [fear of] retaliation”, saying:
What is the “value added” of an organization that rewards the misdeeds of its “Leadership Team?…The ultimate victims, of course, are the intended beneficiaries of GPE: Rather than being provided with the best educational services the trust fund can offer, they must deal with an organization whose mismanagement at the highest levels needlessly saps resources and talent. This situation deserves serious attention, not only by the GPE Secretariat and Board, but by the Fund’s donors…”
You might imagine that the GPE is somehow germane to Australia’s sphere of influence in the Pacific region, where wife-bashing and sub-standard education for girls is endemic (think Nauru for starters). But in 2014-15, 46 grants — more than two-thirds of the GPE total — went to Sub-Saharan Africa, compared with 15 grants to three Asian regions, four to Latin America and three to the Middle East & North Africa.
The notoriously corrupt World Bank plays a major role in GPE as trustee and grant supervisor. The World Bank board includes the usual UN suspects, such as Venezuela (run on Communist lines and now so bankrupt it can’t even afford to print its hyper-inflationary banknotes). Djibouti and terror-promoting Pakistan also have plum roles on the board. The bank’s top priority, literally, is stopping climate change, never mind starvation and disease. So don’t expect wonders from the World Bank supervision of GPE.
Curiously, GPE in November, 2013, appointed as its chief operating officer a certain Lisa Gomer, who resigned as general counsel at the U.S. Agency for International Development nine months earlier amid a Justice Department investigation of contract rigging. The Agency’s inspector-general alleged Gomer had helped design a $US155,000-a-year contract job to insure it would go to USAID’s chief financial officer, David Ostermeyer, who was retiring. The Justice Department reached a $US30,000 settlement with Ostermeyer soon after Gomer became GPE’s COO, but no charges were laid against Gomer. The GAP watchdog report said,
“There is a whiff of impropriety about this appointment, given the unresolved bid-rigging issues that affected USAID on Ms. Gomer’s watch and the apparent stealth with which she assumed her new position at the GPE. Given the extraordinary importance of the GPE’s mission educating poor children in poor countries, the Chief Operating Officer for this fund must be above reproach.”
Gomer quit last August after boasting of her “Enhanced corporate governance by facilitating direct support to Board Chair (former Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard)”.
How far up the global totem pole will ex-PM Gillard and one-time de facto of the naughty Bruce Wilson be elevated, especially if we get a President Hillary Clinton? Will Malcolm Turnbull be supporting two Labor ex-Prime Ministers, Rudd for UN Secretary-General and Gillard for President (?) Hillary Clinton’s cheer squad?
Hat-tips: Hilary Ostrov for inspiration, Michael Smith’s blog, Greg Sheridan’s reporting.
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