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And this guy’s the Assistant Treasurer?

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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23 comments

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  1. New England Cocky

    Merit? Does that word exist in the LIarbral lexicon?

  2. gwenda cornell

    he is also a Pentecostal Christian

  3. John Hermann

    Presumably this “assistant treasurer”, along with the “treasurer” are still trying to work out how to create full-time jobs in the context of their promised budget surpluses. But they should not despair, there is always the tried and trusty option of massaging the economic statistics — also understood by the average person in the street as distorting the truth (i.e. lying).

  4. Kaye Lee

    Yes gwenda. “Robert has attributed his commitment to family, charity and political life to his strong Pentecostal Christian beliefs, and has modelled his morals and values around his faith.” Wealth creation is big with the Pentecostals.

  5. Kaye Lee

    John,

    Every time they say higher taxes will slow the economy I scream at the tv so will reduced government spending.

  6. Baby Jewels

    Yes, gobsmacking, isn’t it?

  7. Neil Rankin

  8. Kaye Lee

    IA have done an excellent article on Robert with more information about the internet charge.

    Robert claimed a total of $62,814.52 for his residential internet costs from 11 December 2008 to 30 June 2018. While these costs were consistently high, there was a noticeable and significant spike in Robert’s residential internet expenses in 2016. This spike prompted speculation about the reason for his high residential internet costs when reported in mainstream media earlier this month.

    Around the same time, coincidentally, the church where Robert and his family worship, METRO Pentecostal Church on the Gold Coast, launched their Christian TV streaming service. Robert’s wife, Chantelle, is the People’s Pastor at this church; she and Robert are advertising that in 2019 they are hosting a trip to Israel at the cost of $5,600 per person.

    https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/stuart-roberts-litany-of-transgressions,12001

    Also from the IA article….

    During his time as Minister for Human Services, Robert said:

    “The Government says to those: you are not just cheating and stealing from the Government; you are stealing from your neighbour; you are stealing from those genuinely in need. So today the Government announced the establishment of Taskforce Integrity, which will ensure taxpayer’s money only goes to those who genuinely need a helping hand. Taskforce Integrity is the largest welfare taskforce ever initiated by Government. It is led by the Department of Human Services. $47 million has been provided to it over the next four years.”

  9. Kronomex

    Kaye Lee, I also see that Creature…oops, Christian Porter and Kevin Andrews also appear to be tied in with the tours. Makes you want to be ill.

  10. Josephus

    Nausea. Despair. How can anyone respect the Coalition and their mates. On the same level as the worst regimes in Africa, minus only the bullets. Why would any refugee want to come here? Oh ok it is because they have fled corruption and stupidity plus bullets.
    Some mayor woman fond of cliches on ABC Radio this morning talking about ‘communists’ and rubbishing the Murray Darling Water Plan. Under what rock did she crawl out from? Her hubby is a cotton farmer… Has no idea what ‘communism’ is and never thought to research it. WHY do ignoramuses attain positions of power at any level? What good is education if a mayor bandies cliches about.

  11. helvityni

    Why doesn’t Labor make more fuss about these Coalitions peccadillos, Dastyari was sent packing a lesser misdemeanour, or should I say ‘sin’ to speak the lingo of all those Catholics and Pentecostals on Scomo’s team…. Are Muslims deemed guilty automatically…?

  12. Rossleigh

    Remember when the Liberals released “Labor’s Little Book of Waste” before the 2013 election where they complained that Julia Gillard had spent $53,000 on a blog and taxpayers were forking out money to supply Treasury workers with 350 litres of milk a week…
    Apparently, they could have used, “We never bothered to check the bills” as a defence.

  13. DrakeN

    Josephus,

    It is a matter of ignorami being elected by those of no knowledge 😉

  14. David Bruce

    If the impacts of the financial services RC result in criminal or civil charges for executives, perhaps we should push for a similar RC into the abuses of parliamentary privilege.

    It seems to me we have a section of our society operating above the law of the land. In many respects it also seems similar to the American model, where politicians operate above the law and are exempt from prosecution.

    Howard confiscated the guns, so we may have to resort to pitchforks?

  15. corvus boreus

    John Menandue’s take on the link between Stuart Roberts’ pentecostal beliefs, his extra-curricular tour-guide activities, and the sudden enthusiasm for a costly, divisive and potentially dangerous relocation of our Israel embassy to Jerusalem (bring on the rapture!!!)
    https://johnmenadue.com/john-menadue-pentecostalism-jerusalem-the-prime-minister-and-the-assistant-treasurer/
    Seems like our 2IC treasurer has the combined merits of being quite stupid, rather shifty and nutso-superstitious to boot.

  16. Kaye Lee

    Stuart Robert just keeps on giving….

    “Is he on another planet? Sacked Turnbull Government minister calls for billionaires to get a GST exemption for bringing luxury super yachts to Australia – after getting FREE tickets to a boat show”

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5790141/Gold-Coast-Liberal-MP-Stuart-Robert-wants-super-yacht-charter-tours-Australia-GST-free.html

    A speech Turnbull government MP Stuart Robert gave to Parliament defending the Gold Coast property developer Sunland was substantially written by the lead lobbyist for the company.

    Fairfax Media can reveal that former Tony Abbott staffer-turned-developer-lobbyist Simone Holzapfel was the true author of whole sections of the speech that Mr Robert delivered in November 2012.

    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/politics/federal/revealed-mp-stuart-robert-speech-partly-written-by-property-developer-lobbyist-20160927-grplt7.html

    The same Simone Holzapfel gave more than $110,000 of her “own money’’ to the fundraising entity of federal Liberal MP Stuart Robert as her company was being wound up with unpaid debts. In December her lobbying firm was wound up by a court and placed under external administration over unpaid tax.

    https://www.michaelwest.com.au/close-to-the-wind-the-trials-of-liberal-money-man-stuart-robert/

  17. terence mills

    It must be quite unnerving for people like Stuart Robert when they turn up at the SKY studios for a soft interview and instead of getting Andy Bolt or Pete Credlin, or Paul Murray or Alan Jones or ‘Gleeso’ (?) or any of the other pseudo journalists they get speared by David Speers.

  18. pierre wilkinson

    will they all live long enough for a federal ICAC to dispense justice, or will they a la Kathy Jackson and Michaelia Cash, keep fobbing off the inquiry until it is all but forgotten?

  19. Rhonda

    In response to NEC re: the coalition’s meritocracy. Yes, it stands for c*nt – and not the lovely fem anatomy kind.

  20. Shaun Newman

    This bloke is another one of SlowMo’s happy clapping mates, rewarded it seems for being so? Just another of this scandal ridden tory government.

  21. paul walter

    Hapless
    Robert got a bagging somewhere on the ABC this evening (Media Watch?), so once again, nice work Kaye Lee.

    Robert has had an unhappy stay in parliament, having been caught out of a rort involving his personal computer system being funded by taxpayers, also something else that escapes my mind, a few years ago, maybe to do with international trade.

    Seems moronic?

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