Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Job for the Boy

Here's a little strand of the Israel/Gillard affair* that had hitherto escaped my attention: "A former jazz guitarist who is developing a $450 million Melbourne tower has persuaded Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard's partner, Tim Mathieson, to give up his hair-care business to sell residential property instead. Albert Dadon hired Mr Mathieson as a contractor to find international buyers for apartments in the 50-storey project that overlooks Flagstaff Gardens. The appointment tightens the links between Mr Dadon and Ms Gillard after her visit to Israel in June as a guest of the Australia Israel Cultural Exchange, which he founded and chairs. Mr Dadon was the artistic director of the Melbourne Jazz Festival for several years but has emerged in recent times as executive chairman of Ubertas Group and a good friend of the Rudd government. He sponsored Kevin Rudd on a visit to Israel in 2002 when the Prime Minister was Labor's foreign affairs spokesman, and did so again in 2005. The two had lunch together shortly before the 2007 federal election, The Age reported earlier this year. Mr Dadon is married to Debbie Besen, daughter of Highpoint Property Group chairman and Sussan clothing store founder Marc Besen. Ms Gillard disclosed her partner's appointment to Ubertas Group in a letter to the registrar of members' interests last Friday, saying the new job had started last month. A spokesman said Ms Gillard did not expect any perceived conflict of interest to arise from the job. 'However, the appropriate steps will be taken to ensure both Ms Gillard and Mr Mathieson discharge their professional duties in an entirely appropriate way,' she said. Any conflicts would be declared in federal cabinet if required, she said. While the federal government is supporting the residential property sector through its social housing programs, its $4 billion RuddBand plan to support commercial projects like residential towers was voted down in the Senate in June. Mr Matheison met Ms Gillard in a hair salon in 2004 and has run a hair-care business in recent years. He is one of the government's men's health ambassadors." (A man of many properties, David Crowe, Australian Financial Review, 23/10/09)

[*See my posts Her Brilliant Career (29/5/09) & Gillard: 'Sychophant' (22/8/09) ]

No perceived conflict of interest??? Pull the other! We have here yet another reason why Gillard, Rudd & Co. simply cannot be trusted with the formulation and conduct of Australian foreign policy on Palestine/Israel.

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