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August 2016

Bill Clinton, perjury finding, disbarred lawyer, not a fit and proper person - so why trust him with our money?

This is a really serious question for our government.  Why trust this conman with our money.  He's abused our money in the past, why give him more?

I've previously published the findings of the various US courts where Clinton has been subject to sanctions - but I know that sometimes that stuff just doesn't sink in.

So here's a note to Julie Bishop, Malcolm Turnbull and Australian taxpayers about Conman Clinton who comes calling for cash.

The Snopes website is generally regarded as left leaning, it's no friend of conservative causes.

So here's Snopes with its finding on material about Clinton that's been circulating in the past few weeks.

And it's all true.  The bloke is no better than a suburban lawyer who's been removed from the roll because of bad character.  He is a liar, a cheat and a thief.

So why does the Australian Government continue to send him and his wife our money?   And why are we surprised when he steals it.  Again.




A graphic lists the legal consequences suffered by the former president stemming from the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

CLAIM: Bill Clinton was disbarred and fined over actions related to the Monica Lewinsky scandal.


EXAMPLE: [Collected via e-mail, July 2016]

bill clinton disbarred

ORIGIN:On 26 July 2016, shortly after Bill Clinton took the stage at the Democratic National Convention to make the case that his wife Hillary Clinton should be the next President of the United States, an image purportedly listing the various fines and consequences he suffered for lying under oath during the Monica Lewinsky scandal showed up on social media. 

The list displayed above is mostly accurate, although some of the claims deserve extra clarification:

Bill Clinton was disbarred from practicing law in Arkansas and was also disbarred from practicing law in front of the Supreme Court over the Lewinsky incident.

While Clinton can no longer practice law in front of the highest court, it's not accurate to say that he was disbarred from either the Supreme Court or from practicing law in Arkansas. Clinton's license wassuspended in Arkansas, but he was not disbarred, and while Clinton did face the possibility of being barred from arguing in front the U.S. Supreme Court, he resigned before the ruling was handed down. 

On his last day in office in 2001, Clinton agreed to a five-year suspension of his Arkansas law license in order to head off any criminal charges for lying under oath about his relationship with Lewinsky. Clinton has been eligible to seek reinstatement of his license since 2006, but as of 2013 he had not applied to do so.

Shortly after Clinton's license was suspended in Arkansas, the U.S. Supreme Court suspended Clinton from presenting cases in front of the highest court (which he had never done) and gave him 40 days to contest his disbarment (which Clinton did not do). Instead, he resigned from the Supreme Court bar:

Former President Clinton, facing the possibility of being barred from practicing law before the U.S. Supreme Court because of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, has resigned instead, his lawyer said.

"Former President Clinton hereby respectfully requests to resign from the bar of this court," his lawyer, David Kendall, said in a two-page letter to the high court's clerk. Kendall did not elaborate on why Clinton decided to resign.

Clinton's resignation from the Supreme Court bar will have little practical impact. Clinton has not practiced before the Supreme Court and was not expected to argue any cases in the future.

He also paid a $25,000 fine over the Lewinsky incident.

In addition to agreeing to a five-year suspension of his Arkansas law license, Clinton accepted a $25,000 fine:

Mr. Clinton paid the fine with a personal check on March 21, said Marie-Bernarde Miller, the lawyer who handled a disbarment lawsuit brought by a committee of the Arkansas Supreme Court.

"The case is completed," Ms. Miller said.

Clinton was fined $90,000 for giving false testimony in the Paula Jones case.

In April 1999, U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright found Clinton in contempt of court for giving false testimony in the Paula Jones sexual harassment trial and fined him over $90,000:

The federal judge who found President Clinton in contempt of court levied a penalty of $90,686 against him, making him the first chief executive ever assessed such a payment.

Repeating her condemnation of Clinton for lying under oath in the Paula Corbin Jones sexual harassment lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright said that she was imposing the sanction to cover some of Jones' legal expenses and "to deter others who might consider emulating the president's misconduct."

Robert S. Bennett, Clinton's private attorney, said that he would not challenge the ruling. "We accept the judgment of the court and will comply with it."

He also paid an $850,000 settlement over the Lewinsky incident.

Bill Clinton did write a large settlement check, but that money went to Paula Jones and not Monica Lewinsky,

In 1994, Paula Jones filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Bill Clinton. Thar case dragged on for four years (while Clinton was serving as President) before it was finally settled in November 1998 with a check for $850,000:

Clinton mailed the settlement cheque to Mrs. Jones, even as he braced for the heaviest fallout yet from her harassment suit — an impeachment trial in the Senate.

To finance the settlement, the president drew about $375,000 from his and Hillary Rodham Clinton's personal funds and got the rest of the money, about $475,000, from an insurance policy, a White House official told The Associated Press.

"This ends it. The check is being Fed-Exed" to Bill McMillan, one of Mrs. Jones' lawyers, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Editorial and Interview with Victoria's Chief Commissioner of Police about progress in The AWU Scandal

Intrepid and fearless Bill Thompson always gets his man!

Today Bill was at the Long Tan Memorial service at The Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne.

He took the opportunity for this on the record chat with Victoria's Chief Commissioner of Police Graham Ashton AM APM about The AWU Scandal.

Tell me please that the Chief Commissioner didn't say "I don't know".

A  task force of detectives in "Operation Tendement" that kicked off more than 3.5 years ago involving a search warrant executed on a sitting Prime Minister's former office, allegations of serious and continuing fraud involving senior trade union officials and politicians, front page newspaper stories for months and the Chief Commissioner doesn't know where it's at?

That leave only two conclusions regarding the Chief Commissioner.

I'm sure I misheard.  I'm sure he meant he wanted to check this afternoon to make sure his recollection included the latest information.

If the Chief of Police doesn't know where this investigation is at we are in trouble.

The only worse position for a trusted official like the chief of police would be if he'd lied to our reporter about "not knowing".

And a chief of police who tells lies doesn't bear thinking about.  I'm sure Commissioner Ashton wouldn't do that.

Perhaps when Bill rings back today or tomorrow to clear matters up, the Chief might have a more complete answer for him.

UPDATE 3.50PM - my editorial

Veterans Ralph Blewitt and LTCOL Harry Smith SG MC in Vietnam for Long Tan Day


Veterans Mick McQueen, LTCOL Harry Smith SG MC and Ralph Blewitt at Tommy's 3 Bar Vung Tau.


Ralph Blewitt said, "Humbled to be with Harry Smith who's never stopped fighting for his diggers from the battle of Long Tan. Thank you Sir for your enduring efforts on behalf of all of us".

Ralph Blewitt is hale and hearty, he's sharp of mind and fit of body.   It's almost 50 years since his tour of duty in Vietnam and Ralph is ready to fight and win for Australia one more time.

To quote Churchill, The Royal Commission wasn't the end of The AWU Scandal.    We are not even at the beginning of the end. But this is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

Ralph's ready to do battle and to fight for what's right.   And his mission is to bring his co-offenders to justice.

Duty First.

Lest We Forget.

When you feel shut out, and no one will stand beside you, read these stories of a great man's life

What an inspiration you'll find in these pages.

Bob Carter wasn't concerned with popularity or brand-values or laughing at the boss's jokes.

Bob cared about the truth and dedicated his professional life to finding it.

And once he had it, all the choirs of paid PR teams in all the academic halls in all the world couldn't lure him away from it.

I hope Bob knew how much respect he'd earned in his professional life.  

He earned it the hard way!

Vale Bob Carter.


Tribute to the late Bob Carter

 And thanks to reader Mycroft for the tip on this publication.

Muso of WA, Corin Linch and my mate John Franklin (we joined up together in 1978) pay tribute.

Thank you to Muso of WA for this perfect tribute to our Aussie diggers from D Coy, 6RAR in the battle of Long Tan 50 years ago today.

Muso tells me Corin Linch is a WA bush poet.  Did I say Aussie?  Have a listen and he'll leave you in no doubt.


Good on you Muso, it's great to have you back mate  - and thanks for the introduction to Corin.

Here's part of my post from February this year as Harry Smith went in to bat for his diggers yet again.

The editorial you'll hear below triggered one of my proudest moments in a very long time with the email from LTCOL Harry Smith SG MC (RL).

Every Australian should read Harry Smith's account of what his men did

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(I wrote this in February before the decision to decorate a further 10 of Harry's men.)  

I feel so passionately about Harry Smith and his men.   They deserve justice and recognition for their heroism and dedication to duty, to each other and to Australia.

Here's why.

I'm quite nervous in writing or talking about Long Tan.   Many of the men who fought there are very much alive and kicking and I'd hate to get something wrong in talking about what they did.

So I can't tell you how much this note means to me.   What a great man is Harry Smith SG MC.


FROM Harry Smith 
Feb 19 2016

TO me

Hey Michael, what a great article you have put on the Web. You have done a lot of homework. I thank you sincerely.

And it seems we have a lot of support out there.


Harry Smith Mobile XXXXX


Here's my reply.


Lieutenant Colonel Harry Smith SG MC
Former OC Delta Coy, 6RAR
SVN 1966

Dear Colonel Smith,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thoughtful note. Receiving it has given me one of the greatest thrills of my professional life and I'm very much in your debt Sir.

I wrote and spoke about the Battle of Long Tan with trepidation knowing how important the story is to the surviving men who were there and more broadly for our country. I'd hoped to get as much detail right as possible - your endorsement is thanks beyond my dreams. Every Australian should know what you and your soldiers did that day - and we should all learn from the way our own government treated you afterwards.

You are absolutely correct in your assessment that you have a lot of support out there! To read your matter-of-fact account published by the Australian War Memorial is to understand duty, professionalism, service, honour, determination and most of all leadership. We're all the better for knowing what you and your men did for us.

I hope that common sense and decency guide the Tribunal in its deliberations next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. And I pray that the Tribunal endorses your final command decision for your troops, that is your recommendation of the following defence honours for your men.


Warrant Officer Class 2 Kirby, John ‘Jack’ Distinguished Conduct Medal to receive the Victoria Cross for Australia
Second Lieutenant Roberts, Adrian Mention in Despatches to receive the Medal for Gallantry
Corporal Moore, William Mention in Despatches to receive the Medal for Gallantry
Second Lieutenant Sharp, Gordon Nil Commendation for Gallantry
Sergeant Alcorta, Frank Nil Medal for Gallantry
Lance Corporal Magnussen, Barry Nil Commendation for Gallantry
Private Bextrum, Neil Nil Commendation for Gallantry
Private Brett, Ron Nil Commendation for Gallantry
Private Campbell, Ian Nil Commendation for Gallantry
Private Grimes, Noel Nil Commendation for Gallantry
Private May, Allen Nil Commendation for Gallantry
Private Peters, Geoffrey Nil Commendation for Gallantry
Private Roche, William Nil Commendation for Gallantry

Thank you for your service Colonel. Lest we Forget.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Smith

In January 1978 I joined the Australian Army as an Army Apprentice at Balcombe.  A lifelong mate joined up at the same time, John Franklin.  John and I were in the same "guts hut" and then the same dongas for 2 years in 5 Platoon B Company AAS Balcombe Barracks Balcombe MILPO sorry mum forgot.   We did Canungra together which was a breeze compared to two years in the school of hardest knocks in the country, the Army Apprentices School

John's stayed in a kicked on, he's a WO1 with the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery Band at Enoggera celebrating the unit's birthday with a traditional Beating the Retreat ceremony last Saturday night.

John has his reserve soldiers for 3 hours a week - not a bad standard of drill and dedication I'd say.  I loved seeing John and his diggers with the Regiment on parade there, it's good to know that traditions of service, dedication and duty continue.

Congratulations Sah-Major. 

Lest we Forget.

Charles Ortel on PRN FM in New York about the Clinton HIV/Aids Initiative Inc

The Clinton Foundation’s Billion-Dollar HIV/AIDS Boondoggle—08.17.16

Charles Ortel, a former Wall Street banker and investor who exposed General Electric’s massive fraud in 2007-2008 by proving that it had overvalued its stock by hundreds of billions of dollars, for several months has been deconstructing the highly irregular inner workings of the Clinton Foundation and related entities operating “charitable” programs all over the world.

But the foundation and its projects are in flagrant violation of U.S. and international law, Ortel says. While their stated purposes are philanthropic, he says, the foundation and its various offshoots appear to be an elaborate, multibillion-dollar slush fund for the Clintons, who have been able to run a renegade operation without tight oversight.

Continuing Leid Stories’ close look at the foundation and its various “charities,” Ortel today focuses on The Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative, which it launched in 2009 in partnership with leading drug manufacturers “to improve treatment access for people with drug-resistant HIV in developing nations.”


Download this episode (right click and save)




Long Tan & Vietnam Veterans Day. We will remember them. Lest We Forget.

Find somewhere quiet to watch this, there's no sound track, not that your hearing would be much good if you'd been through what these blokes went through.   

Never forget how many blokes owe their lives to 9 Squadron, RAAF.  Thanks for your service Hedley, Angus and everyone who's held the collective.

And together we remember those soldiers who died this year and whose stories were told on these pages.   You are forever a part of our lives.

Thank you for your service diggers, stand down.

Doc Dobson, RAAMC, D Coy 6 RAR Medic who set up the field aid post and didn't lose a single wounded man that night.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 2.18.08 am

And Padre Les who took the sacraments to the field and left the bullshit behind.

Thank you for your service Padre.  All the boys are accounted for and every family knows all they need to know about what happened over there.

And they all thank you Father.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 2.16.29 am

Thank you to all our veterans for your service.

At the going down of the sun.

And in the morning.

We will remember them.

Lest We Forget.

$10M donation to Clinton Foundation with Rudd. Gillard went with $14M. And taxpayers are still paying.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 9.35.49 pmOn Monday 24 September 2012 Julia Gillard was in New York with a full diary.  She was staying at the Waldorf Astoria hotel which isn't a bad place to be if you're going to take a sickie.   All of the following appointments were cancelled - bar one.  

  • A. A private dinner/reception with President Obama.
  • B. Lunch speech to the Asia Society and Economic Club of New York.
  • C. First session of the UN General Assembly
  • D. Hillary Clinton gender event, part of Clinton Global Initiative

A, B and C were nice and possibly in Australia's interests but sorry, no cigar!  This was the make or break week for the upcoming apres politics gigs and Hillary held the key to the future.  So if you picked D, congratulations, go and buy yourself a new job using taxpayers money as your prize, here's the ABC reporting on what prompted:

.......Prime Minister Julia Gillard to pull out of several engagements in New York, including a reception for world leaders hosted by US president Barack Obama.

Ms Gillard is in the US along with Foreign Minister Bob Carr for a four-day diplomatic visit during the United Nations Leaders Week.

She had been forced to forgo an address at a lunch gathering of the Asia Society and the Economic Club of New York

Senator Carr appeared in her place, but Ms Gillard emerged later for an event advocating gender equality presided over by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

The Prime Minister went back to her hotel instead of going on to meet Mr Obama and the other leaders.

Must have been quite something for Julia Gillard to knock back Obama for dinner.   Passed up the photo ops left right and centre.   There couldn't be a clearer example of the importance of Hillary Clinton in Gillard's world; the only appointment Gillard kept that day was this one.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 9.36.06 pm

Here are the transcripts from that day taken from the PM's website (cached at the National Archives).


Speech for Equal Futures Partnership Launch

I am honoured to announce Australia's founding membership of the Equal Futures Partnership. I am delighted to do so in the company of Secretary Clinton. Hillary – you have done so much to inspire women and girls all around the world. ...



Australia joins Equal Futures Partnership as a founding member

Prime Minister Julia Gillard today announced Australia would join with the United States and other international partners to expand economic opportunities for women and to increase women’s participation in politics and civil society. Ms Gillard announced that Australia was...

Here's a still from the Youtube video of Hillary Clinton's speech to the opening session of The Clinton Global Initiative that Monday morning - it features Madeleine Albright, whose daughter Alice was installed as CEO of the Global Partnership for Education just before Gillard was installed as Chair.  Madeleine's on the head table with Chelsea and some of the other important people.

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 2.56.08 am

Someone had paved the way to Ms Gillard's future after politics too.  Here's Ban Ki Moon announcing Gillard as a Global Education Champion 


Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 9.49.09 pm


Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group Annual Meeting

Prime Minister Julia Gillard today co-chaired the annual meeting of the Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group, working to drive progress in reaching the Goals by 2015. ...


Intervention - High-Level Political Launch of 'Education First' Initiative

  It’s a great honour to be champion of Secretary-General Ban’s Education First Initiative. This is a very significant tribute to Australia’s work to improve education in developing countries through our aid program. ...


Prime Minister appointed as Global Education Champion

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has today been appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as one of 10 member-state champions of his Global Education Initiative Education First. ...


Speech to the United Nations General Assembly - “Practical progress towards realising those ideals in the world”

Mr President, congratulations on your election. You now preside over a forum for every voice – an Assembly of all people and nations – for no country or bloc to dominate solely or lead as one alone – where small and medium sized countries are truly heard.  ...

Just as Kevin Rudd had done in 2008, Julia Gillard was positioned beautifully by Hillary and the Clinton Foundation that week.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 9.59.08 pm

And just like Kevin Rudd's 2008 entree to the Clinton's World, Julia Gillard's debut coincided with a dubious payment to the Clinton Foundation from the Australian Government.

The bulk of this transfer of our money to the Clinton Foundation was hidden from government accounts (as was the case with Rudd's $10M to the Clinton Foundation via the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute).

The payment that coincided with Gillard's ascension commenced with this initial $500K donation to the Clintons.  I know what you're thinking, it cost Rudd $10M - why is this so cheap?  Wait, there's plenty more of your money to come - millions more.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.04.31 pm

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.04.46 pm

Now you know if there's a whiff about something in Canberra because people talk.

That's how Malcolm Farr and others in the gallery get their stories.

Even Swannie's over the top defence is consistent with the sorts of performance we see when there's a fire to explain the smoke.


Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.09.35 pm

TREASURER Wayne Swan, who today said US Republicans are economic "crazies", has been linked to a Government gift of $550,000 to a foundation run by former US President, Democrat Bill Clinton.

The taxpayers' money four days ago went to the former president's Clinton Foundation to pay for carbon accounting in Kenya.

Liberal environment spokesman Greg Hunt today said the Treasurer was "playing in partisan politics" by attacking the Republicans and helping a leading Democrat figure during the US election campaign.

"It's completely inappropriate for the Treasurer to be playing in partisan US politics and that is not in Australia's interests," Mr Hunt told

"Against that background, it seems even odder that they are giving money to one of the world's richest foundations."

The Government approved $550,000 for the design of a "National Carbon Accounting System in Kenya", according to a tender document from the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. 

The Government is expected to be asked why it was sending the design work to Boston when it boasts of creating so-called green jobs here in Australia.

Bill Clinton

Wayne Swan has been linked to former US president Bill Clinton's foundation. Picture: Chris Hyde Source:

The revelation of the donation to the foundation came hours after Treasurer Swan made a heavy-handed intervention in the US election campaign by branding Republican economic policy managers as 'cranks and crazies'.


This has all the hallmarks of a classic Clinton con.  

It's backdated.  

It claims to arise from an open tender.  

The Clintons will use a carbon accounting package developed by us at our cost.  

As you'll see in a moment, the contract leads on into the millions and millions........and....

The donation was made to the Clinton Foundation just in time for an Australian Prime Minister to get the red carpet in New York.

Here's a bit of history to the Kenya Carbon Accounting Caper.

In 2008 Penny Wong announced that the Clinton Foundation had chosen Australia's carbon accounting package.  The package had been developed by Australia's CSIRO at substantial cost, including satellite positioning, geospatial data systems, financial accounting packages and a range of other inputs.   Penny was keen for someone to use it.  There is no evidence that the Clinton Foundation paid anything for the right to be mentioned in Penny Wong's 2008 press release.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.17.18 pm


Now this is new - and news!

The Clinton Foundation took our Carbon Accounting System and put in a bid for a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation for what turned out to be $7M in funding over 4 years (2008 to 2012) in - Kenya!

Here's the Rockefeller Foundation's report:

"Over three grants and four years the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) under the William J. Clinton Foundation has accounted for $7m and 60% of (project)  funding. Interviews were held with the CCI Director of the Global Carbon Measurement Program in Washington and the CCI Country Director in Kenya. The essence of the CCI support was to establish and test a National Carbon Accounting System (NCAS) at the policy level (in Kenya) and set up a number of viable demonstration projects at the community level".

How good is that!

Clinton gets our National Carbon Accounting System, developed and paid for by us.

He uses it to get a $7M grant from Rockefeller.

Over 4 years Clinton gets paid to design a National Carbon Accounting System for Kenya (sorry Rockefellers, no big final announcement, it wasn't quite ready when your money and patience ran out).

Then along comes an ambitious Australian Prime Minister unusually keen to make sure the carbon content of Kenya's forests has been properly accounted for.   What Australian Prime  Minister isn't kept awake at night by that worry?

Here's a link to the Rockefeller report.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.43.17 pm

Here's a synopsis of the Clinton Foundation work  - no design documents, a "partnership" agreement, no real acquittal - familiar story?   Good to know it wasn't just us, Rockefeller got the treatment too.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.38.56 pm

Here are the Clinton objectives in more detail.  

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.37.32 pm Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.38.21 pm

Note Clinton got to keep the Rockefeller $7M - and who provided Clinton with technical support for the Rockefeller project?  We did.

It's beautiful serendipity that the Department of Climate Change led by Greg Combet was able to come to the party at such short notice and get the first good faith $500K rolling into the Clinton Slush Fund on 17 September 2012.  7 days was tight, but I'll bet my busted backside the money was in the Clinton Foundation accounts before the gladhandling commenced on 24 September 2012.   The Clintons have heard every cheque in the mail story known to man - with pay to play money talks, BS walks.

Julia went to New York with the $500K downpayment taken care of by Greg.

So where 'd the rest of the money come from?

After Ms Gillard did the deal with Bob Brown and The Greens to retain office at the 2010 election, lots of money started sloshing around the coffers for carbon and climate stuff.

One special initiative designed with the Clintons in mind was the Fast Finance chuck money out the door for dumb ideas corporation.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.50.54 pm Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.52.20 pm

Getting money through the scheme wasn't quite as fast as getting Greg Combet to approve the first $500K from his own departmental budget.

But once the paperwork was in order for the Fast Finance (no application refused, no financials?  No worries!) Dodgy Brothers Bill was home and hosed.

So here's the drawdown.

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And someone must have been on a promise in Cambodia and Africa

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 11.02.33 pm

 And even that had to be revised upwards because we are, after all, dealing with the Clintons.

Remember Greg Combet who approved the first $500K?

Well Greg was in the blooming, blossoming stage of new love.

Here he is with Juanita, photographed on 29 September 2012, yes the same time that Ms Gillard was enjoying the fruits of his tender award to Bill Clinton.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 11.43.43 pm

And a few months later, Julia Gillard was happy to personally sign off on Greg and Juanita going First Class together for a beautiful taxpayer/slush-fund-spectacular dream honeymoon experience of a lifetime.

CLIMATE Change Minister Greg Combet took his ABC newsreader partner Juanita Phillips on a first-class visit to Europe, amid signs of an increase in global travel by Gillard Government frontbenchers.

The taxpayer-funded trip earlier this month included visits to Paris, Brussels and Berlin where Mr Combet - touted as a future Labor leader - delivered a keynote address to the "Towards a Global Carbon Market" conference.

Mr Combet said the trip met ministerial rules for travelling with spouses. These require the minister's partner to have an "official program of engagements".

He declined to confirm to News Limited what program Ms Phillips - who presents the ABC's flagship 7pm television news service in Sydney - undertook.

The minister also would not disclose why they flew first class.

The guidelines state "ministers and their spouses should travel business class" when travelling overseas, but they may have received a free upgrade.

A first-class airfare to Paris costs between $12,000-15,000 and the carbon footprint - around 5 tonnes of CO2 - is enough to power a small car for a year.

"Approval for Minister Combet's and Ms Phillips's overseas visit on official business was in accord with the guidelines relating to such visits," his spokesman said. "Any suggestion to the contrary would be wrong and misleading."

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is required to tick off on all overseas travel by her front bench. Asked about Mr Combet and Ms Phillips' trip, a spokesman said: "All overseas ministerial travel is approved in accordance with the guidelines."

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd in 2009 tightened rules on ministers taking their spouses overseas and Tony Abbott is vowing to a crack down he wins office.

"If elected to government we will ensure that overseas travel is strictly for official purposes, and that for ministers spousal travel will be the exception, not the rule," the Opposition leader told News Limited.

The relationship of Mr Combet, a former ACTU secretary, and Ms Phillips was revealed last September but the Cabinet minister and the glamorous broadcaster have been reluctant to step out together in public.

The Coalition and the ABC have enjoyed a rocky relationship over the years.

A spokesperson for the ABC said Ms Phillips informed the national broadcaster that "she was on annual leave at the time" of the Europe trip and travelling in a personal capacity.

"People have private lives and we handle these matters on a case by case basis," the spokesperson said.

With parliament in recess, a number of frontbenchers are travelling overseas including Home Affairs and Justice Minister Jason Clare, Treasurer Wayne Swan and Bernie Ripoll, his parliamentary secretary, who this week travelled to Chicago to participate in a panel titled "What are international challenges to improving financial literacy and capabilities for women?".


And as for Julia Gillard?  We'll do her (story) slowly.  Stand by for more.


Sage advice from the Boston Globe about giving money to the Clinton Foundation. Stop it, now!

This advice applies equally to donors as well as the foundation, particularly where the donors are foreign governments whose elected representatives dream of a retirement Clinton-entree to the global gravy train. 


EDITORIAL from the Boston Globe

Clinton Foundation should stop accepting funds

In this image taken from video, Chelsea Clinton, left, speaks to the audience as she co-hosts “Girls: A No Ceilings Conversation,” with her mother, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in New York, Thursday, April 17, 2014. The daughter of former president Bill Clinton and the former Secretary of State announced at the event that she is pregnant with her first child at the Clinton Foundation event. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)


In 2014, Chelsea Clinton, left, cohosted a Clinton Foundation event called “Girls: A No Ceilings Conversation,” with her mother, Hillary Clinton. 

ALTHOUGH THE CHARITY founded by former President Bill Clinton has done admirable work over the last 15 years, the Clinton Foundation is also clearly a liability for Hillary Clinton as she seeks the presidency. The once-and-maybe-future first family will have plenty to keep them busy next year if Hillary Clinton defeats Donald Trump in November. The foundation should remove a political — and actual — distraction and stop accepting funding. If Clinton is elected, the foundation should be shut down. 

Since its founding, the foundation has supported relief in Haiti, global health, and other good causes. It also provided posts or paychecks for some members of the Clinton political team, like Cheryl Mills, Douglas Band, and Huma Abedin, and afforded the former president a platform and travel budget. Many of the foundation’s donations come from overseas, including from foreign governments with troubling human rights records.


Winding down the foundation, and transferring its assets to some other established charity, doesn’t have to hurt charitable efforts. If the foundation’s donors are truly motivated by altruism, and not by the lure of access to the Clintons, then surely they can find other ways to support the foundation’s goals. And in four or eight years, the Clinton family could always form a new foundationand reestablish their charitable efforts.

But as long as either of the Clintons is in public office, or actively seeking it, they should not operate a charity, too. The Clintons themselves seem to realize that. “There’ll clearly be some changes in what the Clinton Foundation does and how we do it,” Bill Clinton said in June. “We’ll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it.” Why wait? The Clintons should move now to end donations to the foundationand make plans to shut it down in November. Even if they’ve done nothing illegal, the foundation will always look too much like a conflict of interest for comfort.

The inherent conflict of interest was obvious when Hillary Clinton became secretary of state in 2009. She promised to maintain a separation between her official work and the foundation, but recently released emails written by staffers during her State Department tenuremake clear that the supposed partition was far from impregnable. That was bad enough at State; if the Clinton Foundation continues to cash checks from foreign governments and other individuals seeking to ingratiate themselves with a President Hillary Clinton, it would be unacceptable. 

After hundreds of millions in aid, over a thousand scholarships - Vietnam cancels Long Tan Day celebrations

It's very difficult to understand how the Vietnamese authorities let the planning, cooperation and costs for Long Tan Day commemorations at the Cross get so far advanced before pulling the pin.

More than 1,000 Australian veterans and partners are in Vietnam with most planning to attend the Cross ceremony.

Joint preparations involving the Australian Government and the Vietnamese authorities have been underway for 18 months.

The Australian Government actively canvassed for veterans to attend and offered to reimburse their costs up to $1500 each.

To allow people into the country for the express purpose of attending the place where so many mates were killed in action 50 years ago (in all likelihood the last major commemoration most of these men will be around for) and then prohibit access to the site the day before just beggars belief.


Financial support for veterans of the Battle of Long Tan travelling to Vietnam

Further information


The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs

Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

3 August 2016

Assistance for Long Tan veterans returning to Vietnam on 18 August 2016 

The Australian Government will provide travel assistance to Australia’s Long Tan veterans who travel to Vietnam to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the battle on 18 August.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan was an important milestone that should be marked accordingly.

“Some Long Tan veterans have chosen to commemorate the anniversary of the battle in Australia and some veterans have chosen to return to Vietnam,” Mr Tehan said. 

“In line with the assistance provided to Long Tan veterans who wish to attend commemorations in Australia, the Australian Government will provide some financial assistance to Long Tan veterans who wish to travel to Long Tan in Vietnam on 18 August.

“The Australian Government will provide assistance to these veterans to commemorate this important anniversary in a way and in a place that is most important to them.”

A Long Tan veteran and their travelling companion will each be entitled to claim AUD$1500 for travel expenses. Any Long Tan veteran seeking details about reimbursement of travel costs can contact the Department of Veterans’ Affairs by telephone on 133 254 or by emailing 

The Battle of Long Tan took place on 18 August 1966. It was one of the fiercest battles fought by Australian soldiers in the Vietnam War, involving 105 Australians and three New Zealanders from D Company 6RAR. D Company were greatly assisted by an ammunition resupply by RAAF helicopters, close fire support from New Zealand's 161 Field Battery, together with additional artillery support from the Australian task force base at Nui Dat, and the arrival of reinforcements in APCs as night fell.






Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 3.23.41 pm


    Commemorations of the battle of Long Tan have been cancelled by Vietnamese officials, DFAT says. (AAP) 
A commemoration for the 50th anniversary of the battle of Long Tan in Vietnam has been cancelled, despite 1000 veterans already being in the country. 
17 AUG 2016 - 5:44 PM  UPDATED 24 MINS AGO
The Vietnamese government's decision to ban the 50th anniversary commemoration for the battle of Long Tan at the last minute is a "kick in the guts" and not the act of a friend, Veterans Affairs Minister Dan Tehan says.

There are now concerns about 1000 veterans who have travelled to Vietnam will be "shattered" after planning and paying for their trips.

The federal government is deeply disappointed and is representations at what it says is the highest level to have the ban of Thursday's Veterans Day at the Long Tan cross site overturned.

Mr Tehan said the government was advised of the decision late on Tuesday without warning.

"For us to be given such short notice of the cancellation is, to put it in very frank terms, a kick in the guts," Mr Tehan told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

"I don't think this is the way that you should treat a friend."

The Vietnamese government cited concerns about "deep sensitivities" over the battle and the impact the commemorations could have on the local community.

It comes after about 18 months of cooperation between the two countries to organise the event.

Mr Tehan insists the Australian government was aware of the sensitivities and had planned a "low-key" ceremony.

Memorial events have been held at Long Tan since 1989.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was trying to speak with his Vietnamese counterpart on Wednesday.

"My real hope is that we will see a change of heart by the Vietnamese government," Mr Tehan said.

"One of the bitterly, bitterly disappointing things about what has occurred is the fact that this decision has taken place with such short notice."

Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia president Ken Foster said veterans would be devastated.

"To be told at the last minute to sit in their hotel or sit in a bar because they can't go where they want to go - they'll be shattered," he told reporters in Canberra.

The Department of Foreign Affairs understands private access to the site will still be permitted.

An official party including the Australian and New Zealand ambassadors will still lay a wreath at the cross site on Thursday.

Mr Tehan said the government's assessment was that the decision was based on sensitivities relating to the battle of Long Tan and not any other aspect of Vietnam-Australia relations.

Commemorations will go ahead in Australian on Wednesday evening - including at an event at Parliament House in Canberra - and on Thursday.

The federal opposition has backed the Australian government.

"The cancellation of the service, at such short notice, is shocking and deeply upsetting for the veterans and families from both countries who have travelled to commemorate this important event," Labor said in a statement on Wednesday.