Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten urges Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to terminate Stuart Robert after his inappropriate conduct as the Human Services Minister.
According to ABC News, Minister Robert attended a signing ceremony between Chinese company Minmetals and Australia’s Nimrod Resources in Beijing, China last 2014. Robert has declared shares in Evolution Mining, a company linked to Paul Marks who is also the executive chairman of the Nimrod Resources. Moreover, Minmetals company said in a statement that Robert congratulated them on the deal on behalf of the Defence Department. Robert was the assistant defence minister of the Abbott government at that time.
The federal opposition politicians claim that Robert breached the ministerial guidelines by misusing his public office by owning shares of Marks’s other company. The opposition leaders also accused him of conflict of interest, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Shorten told ABC News that he was not satisfied that the Turnbull government had all the facts, adding that Turnbull “has to clear problems with his ministers.”
“The Stuart Robert scandal is going to become a test of Malcolm Turnbull’s judgement … Malcolm Turnbull has lost more ministers than he’s released tax policies for Australia. He needs to get his act together,” Shorten said. Shorten further told ABC News that the opposition “would not rest until it had all the facts.”
Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said Robert needed to make an immediate statement on his actions. “Running for cover behind a departmental inquiry is not good enough,” he said.
Turnbull government to investigate Robert’s conduct
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called for an investigation of the matter.
“I can confirm that I have asked the secretary of my department for advice in relation to the statement of ministerial standards,” Turnbull said. Turnbull assures the public that the investigation will be done “in accordance with the code”.
ABC News reported that Paul Marks donated “a total of $340,000 to the Liberal Party in the 2014-15 financial year.“