Philanthropy, the Twiggy Forrest way

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Andrew "Twiggy Forrest's $70 billion bushfire donation comes with conditions (Screenshot via YouTube)

It may be that Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest the "philanthropist" has only one person's welfare in mind, writes Grant Turner.

ANDREW "TWIGGY" FORREST claims to be a "philanthropist". He recently, with much fanfare, graced the front pages of our mainstream media for donating $70 million to the horrific bush fire crisis. Many were delighted to see this incredibly wealthy man giving to such a worthwhile cause.

Philanthropy is described by the Oxford Dictionary as

"the desire to promote the welfare of others, expressed especially by the generous donation of money to good causes."

When we look a little deeper into Forrest's philanthropic donation it's apparent that his gift comes with conditions. $10 million is for immediate relief of the victims of the bushfires. Another $10 million will go to Twiggy's "army of helpers" — whatever that means. And $50 million will go to his own Mindaroo Foundation. This is, apparently, to enable his own handpicked researchers to look into "fire mitigation". A cynic might say that these handpicked researchers are unlikely to come up with real answers and that what recommendations they do come up with are likely to be of benefit to Twiggy.

Forrest recently said, sad as the fires are, he believes that it's not climate change that is to blame but, instead,

"arsonists have had a horrible impact, the fuel load has probably had the greatest impact."

Obviously, having loads of money gained through being a mining magnate gives you insight far superior to the 97 per cent of scientists that say climate change is the main contributor to the bushfires we are enduring.

Twiggy is now on a worldwide fundraising tour – on behalf of his own foundation – to raise $500 million to disprove the accepted science of climate change. This is not really surprising from a bloke that joined fellow mining magnate Gina Rinehart on the streets to protest against the mining tax and then challenged the Rudd Government in the High Court in 2013, only to lose. Then in 2014, after his company Fortescue Metals Group earned $9.1 billion, Forrest's accountants somehow reduced that taxable income to $208 million, which resulted in only $13.2 million in tax being paid.

It may be that Twiggy the "philanthropist" has only one person's welfare in mind.

Over the years, Twiggy has consistently avoided paying Fortescue Metals' actual tax bill. Instead, this has been reduced to a pittance, while he has given token amounts to cancer research and other causes. 

Forrest's caring and giving heart has also managed to advertise, via Mindaroo Foundation, lead a review on Indigenous employment and advise the Coalition Government to establish the cashless welfare card, known as the "Indue card", of which he is the architect. It was adopted by the Government, initially in First Nations communities — whose land he seeks to put his profit-making mines upon.

So, Twiggy's Indue card gets to label an entire society as drunken abusers and belittle the world's longest surviving people as beyond self-governing, thereby eliminating resistance to his plans.

Indue Pty Ltd – the corporation awarded the contract to manage the cashless welfare card program and to operate its underlying systems – is a corporation owned by Liberal and National Party members, which donates to various Liberal and National Party branches around Australia.

When someone claims to be a philanthropist and seeks media attention for their deeds, that person is often a self-serving narcissist with a desire for personal power and profit. 

What Andrew Forest does is avoid paying tax and instead makes donations, so that he gets to control who and how the money is used, while also building up his reputation as a good Aussie bloke.

Not one Australian has voted for Twiggy and yet he helps set government policy, along with his profiteering climate change denier mates.

A true philanthropist is one that gives; not one who seeks fame and glory or the power to control how their gift is used.

It's likely that Andrew Twiggy Forest is far from a true philanthropist.

Grant Turner has a strong interest in politics and fairness in society and believes in honest independent media. You can follow him on Twitter @gruntat.

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