What an interesting appointment. One of the “guardians” of the Future Fund appointed by the Treasurer last week is a certain Jeffrey Browne.

The Treasurer, it appears, knows what good work Browne can do with finances because, according to ALP research, he has given more than $17,000 dollars to Peter Costello’s very own Higgins electorate 200 Club, either in his own name or through Euromina Pty Ltd.

The Higgins 200 Club is registered as an associated entity of the Liberal Party and seen as Peter Costello’s local support and fundraising group. And according to the Electoral Commission’s funding and disclosure records, Browne donated $6,600 to the Higgins 200 Club on 30 August 2003 and $5,500 on 24 September 2004. He also made a $5,500 donation to the Higgins 200 Club through his company Euromina Pty Ltd on 8 April 2005.

According to the Higgins 200 Club Return for 2003-04, Euromina Pty Ltd paid $6,600 and $5,500 for “attendance at function”. In the Higgins 200 Club Return for 2004-05, Euromina Pty Ltd paid $5,500 for “attendance at function”.

Browne is the sole director and company secretary of Euromina Pty Ltd, as well as joint shareholder. His wife and father are the other shareholders.

“Mr Jeffrey Browne was a Partner (New York) and Managing Partner of Australian Offices (Melbourne and Sydney) in the legal firm Sullivan & Cromwell until recently and has extensive experience in capital market transactions. Mr Browne has also acted for the Commonwealth and State Governments, mainly in relation to international bond offerings and privatisations”, the Treasurer’s media release says. No mention of Higgins.

So while it’s still jobs for the boys – especially one with no apparent investment or finance industry experience to bring to the Future Fund – presumably the Treasurer has taken steps to ensure another Rob Gerard-type appointment won’t happen again.

Peter Fray

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