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Alexander Downer and the Clinton Foundation - like the deadly Curate's Egg

You never forget putting a spoon into a rotten egg.

When organic matter breaks down in dark, dank places - like swamps or eggs - hydrogen sufide happens.

It's poisonous, corrosive and highly flammable.

The smell of rotten egg gas hangs over the table in "True Humility", Punch magazine's 1895 George du Maurier cartoon.



A new curate priest was invited to breakfast at the home of his boss, The Bishop.

"I'm afraid you've got a bad egg, Mr Jones."

"Oh no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!" 

Australian Aid and DFAT are very much like the curate - desperate to impress and avoid offence.

And the Clinton Foundation is the poisonous curate's egg.


In 2006 Alexander Downer authorised a donation of $25M from Australian taxpayers to the Clinton Foundation.

In return the Clinton Foundation would deliver $25M worth of "work" on HIV/Aids in places like our northern neighbour Papua New Guinea.

The donation was audited by an expert in the aid industry.

She says parts of the Clinton Foundation's work in Papua New Guinea were excellent.

And it is excellent when a dirt-floor palm-frond village sees a nurse for the first time.

But Australia shouldn't pay several hundred times more than the true cost for the privilege. 

$25M - with a reciprocal but undelivered expectation that the Clinton Foundation would tip in the same amount - should buy a lot of medical treatment.

Responding to The Hill's recent criticism, a spokesman for the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation said the focus should be on the foundation’s success helping tens of thousands of AIDS patients.


Why not focus on the contract and the audit report?

It finds the source of the rotten egg gas permeating the Clinton Foundation:

There is no statement of project goal or purpose, thus no indicators at that level, no clear Program Area objectives (with indicators) and no targets. 

A Funding Agreement was signed in July 2006 between the government of Australia and CHAI. This outlined the terms and conditions of the arrangement between AusAID and CHAI for the implementation of CHAI in PNG. This agreement states that “the parties agree to monitor the Program against the Program Milestones and evaluate it against the Program Outcomes.” The defining document against which this occurs is the Program Workplan 2006- 2009. As noted above there is no stated objective/outcome in this document (or any documents subsequent to this) for the whole project (and associated indicators). Outcomes or objectives for each of the AoC are not articulated (thus no indicators provided). It is therefore impossible for this part of the agreement to be adhered to.

The Clintons could do what they liked with our money.  And they did.

We are too nice, too subtle in accommodating the Clintons - too much like the 1895 Curate telling The Bishop that parts of his rotten egg were excellent.

We should learn from Punch magazine which republished the 1895 cartoon in its final issue, published in the 1990s.

Only the caption was changed.

Curate, "This f*ckin' egg's off!"

Like the Clintons.