*Pic: Great Barrier Reef. Lush image from here: HERE

Reefgate should be Malcolm Turnbull’s Watergate, but probably won’t be.

All the ingredients are there for suggesting a massive misuse of public funds.

We have an organisation called the Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF), ostensibly a not-for-profit charity with six full-time staff and a 13-member board with current or background experience as CEOs, directors, presidents and chairs of Esso, BHP, Qantas, Boeing, Queensland Ballet, Suncorp, St George’s Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Goldman Sachs, Origin Energy, AGL Gas, Rio Tinto, Colonial First State, CSIRO institutes, Bond University and the Queensland University, to mention some.

A number of the board members share experience with each other on these various corporate boards, and many of them have held key executive positions with the BCA.

Well that looks all above board, so to speak, doesn’t it? Who else would you have on a charity like GBRF which suddenly gets swamped with $440 million of public funds to save the barrier reef from climate change?

And why else would Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull handball the ‘lotto’ – as GBRF chair Anna Marsden quipped in an understatement of significant proportions – when they hadn’t even bought a ticket in the lottery?

The mainstream media reports that experts in the field of how public funds are meant to be distributed under the guidelines of due process and diligence, which is supposed to include a tender process managed independently from political influence and interference, are ‘baffled’, ‘puzzled’ and even ‘alarmed’ by the facts of the matter.

What can possibly be wrong with the ‘captain’s call’, given that his predecessor Tony Abbott set a neat precedent to be followed when he brought back knight and dames, especially to honour the great Australian, Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh, consort to her Majesty the Queen of Australia?

It is entirely in keeping with being agile and innovative, and entirely egalitarian in its purpose of transferring public funds to those you like and those you know, and all that stuff about making sure the big end of town makes the decisions, so what’s the fuss?

It’s all pretty minor, to say the least. After all, the GBRF was asked to put in an application, or decided to do so, after it had already been given the money, which makes perfect sense. Why apply for something until you get it?

And $440 million is a tidy sum to keep in the bank – which one? – to earn some interest to employ a few more much –needed staff, don’t you reckon?

There are enough financial brains on GBRF to work that one out, so it shouldn’t be too difficult for them to tell us asap how they’re going to spend it all, with all transparency.

Or is that too much to ask?

And where does Adani fit into the picture?

– Peter Henning