Prime Minister (PM) Malcolm Turnbull lost five ministers today after a series of ministerial resignations and anomalies.
Human Services Minister Stuart Robert announced his resignation today following the Labor’s allegations that he breached the ministerial conduct. Stuart was earlier reported to have declared shares in a mining company, and had dealt with a Chinese company in a private trip funded by the government.
After the investigation, Robert’s links to the Chinese deal have been confirmed. “Robert recognised that this connection would create the impression that at the time he went to Beijing, he had something personally to gain from the Nimrod Resources project,” Turnbull said in a statement on Friday.
The Guardian reported that Robert denied wrongdoing but refused to answer specific parliamentary questions. The statement of standards states that ministers “may be required to resign if the prime minister is satisfied that they have breached or failed to comply with these standards in a substantive and material manner.”
“As a result, Robert has asked me not to consider him in the pending reshuffle of the ministry. I thank him for his service as a minister and for his candid cooperation with Dr. Parkinson in his inquiry,” Turnbull said.
The other day, former deputy PM Warren Truss and former Trade Minister Andrew Robb both retired from politics. Truss was replaced by Senator Barnaby Joyce who was recently likened to “Trump” by former foreign minister Bob Carr. Ministers Jamie Briggs and Mal Brough, who were involved in separate scandals, resigned over the summer.
Labor Leader Bill Shorten has earlier expressed his disappointment over Turnbull’s “problem with his ministers.” “Malcolm Turnbull has lost more ministers than he’s released tax policies for Australia. He needs to get his act together,” Shorten told ABC News.
Turnbull will announce the reshuffling of his cabinet members soon, The Huffington Post reported. There were reports that he will appoint the Nationals’ first female deputy, Senator Fiona Nash. This move would most likely increase the number of women in cabinet.