When David Speers asked federal member for Fadden, Stuart Robert, about Scott Morrison’s jobs promise, Robert replied they would be full-time jobs just like the million that Tony created.
This, of course, is rubbish.
When pressed about it, he dithered around finally saying “We’ll see what the economy throws up”.
Exactly. Unless the government starts re-employing some of the multitude of people they have sacked, it will not be them creating jobs.
Perhaps Robert’s slip could be forgiven, except it adds to a very long list which begs the question of why this guy is still in parliament let alone being recently promoted to the position of Assistant Treasurer in the latest iteration of the ATM government.
In October last year, when forced to repay $38,000 he’d billed to taxpayers for home internet charges – $2000 a month, 20 times more than the average claimed by other MPs – Robert told a local radio station that “I probably just wasn’t paying enough attention” as the bills went through.
I guess you don’t worry how much something costs when it isn’t you paying for it.
The month before, in an interview on Sky about the final budget outcome for 2017-18, he appeared to confuse debt and deficit.
Talking up Tuesday’s final budget outcome, in which the deficit has been reduced to $10.1bn, Mr Robert hailed a “$19.3bn turnaround to the lowest debt in 10 years of $10.1bn” during a Sky News interview this morning.
In 2017, Robert came under scrutiny from both the parliament under Section 44 and ASIC when it was revealed that he had direct financial links with a company, the GMT Group, which was awarded millions of dollars’ worth of government contracts.
It was concluded that, as Robert had been re-elected to Parliament since breaking ties with the company, there was no possibility of his in-doubt past elections being challenged in the High Court.
ASIC got involved because Robert had listed his octogenarian parents as the directors of his company for six years without their knowledge.
In April 2017, Robert appeared at a public hearing of the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission named Operation Belcarra, inquiring into the possibly illegal conduct of candidates in some local government elections.
Two long time employees from his office ran in the Gold Coast Council elections purportedly as Independents. Robert organised funding of $30,000 for each of them from the LNP though disclosures were somewhat obscured. It was alleged that some candidates had formed an undeclared group, and provided an electoral funding and financial disclosure return that was false or misleading.
Robert was sacked from his role as assistant defence minister in the Turnbull government after revelations of a “personal” trip to Beijing in August 2014 to celebrate a deal involving Nimrod Resources, an Australian mining company headed by major Liberal party donor Paul Marks.
Despite insisting he had “attended in a private capacity”, a media release issued by China Minmetals Corporation said Robert had extended his congratulations “on behalf of the Australian Department of Defence” and had presented “a medal bestowed to him by Australian prime minister in honour of remembrance and blessing”. He also met China’s vice-minister of land and resources, Wang Min, the next day and said the Australian government welcomed mining investment, according to a Chinese government website.
In 2013, when he was the opposition’s defence, science, technology and personnel spokesman, Stuart Robert accepted Rolex watches for he and his wife from “instant noodle billionaire” Li Ruipeng, the chair of the Li Guancheng Investment Management Group. He later tried to excuse accepting the gift by saying he thought they were fake.
There are many clouds over Robert and his business dealings including his involvement with the Australian Ibero-American Business Council which has been described as “an exercise in astroturfing, where business interests are trying to create what looks like a broad-based community organisation but actually they control it”.
If you are wondering why someone with such a shady track record would be promoted to the ministry, it may have something to do with him being Morrison’s numbers man in the coup against Mr Turnbull and the fact that he shared a home with Morrison in Canberra.
Because no-one would be gullible enough to believe that Robert has been promoted on merit.
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