Minister sacked over Chinese business trip

Written By: - Date published: 12:07 pm, February 13th, 2016 - 21 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, accountability, australian politics, Deep stuff - Tags:

Over in Australia Malcolm Turnbull has ended a difficult week by effectively sacking Stuart Robert from the cabinet for mixing up politics and private business on a trip to China.

From the Guardian:

Malcolm Turnbull has dumped Stuart Robert from the ministry after a scandal over a “private” trip to Beijing to oversee a mining deal involving a major Liberal donor and meet a Chinese vice-minister.

The prime minister confirmed Robert would leave the frontbench after a report by a senior public servant found the minister for human services had “acted inconsistently” with the statement of ministerial standards.

During the course of bureaucrat Martin Parkinson’s investigation, Robert disclosed a shareholding in Metallum Holdings, which had an interest in Nimrod Resources.

“Mr 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.

“As a result, Mr 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.”

What exactly did Robert do to deserve this summary dismissal?

Turnbull sought advice from Parkinson, the head of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, after revelations Robert attended an event in Beijing to celebrate a deal involving Nimrod Resources, an Australian mining company headed by Liberal party donor Paul Marks.

This was followed by a meeting with the Chinese vice-minister of land and resources in the reported presence of Nimrod Resources the next day.

It did not help that Robert inadvertently forgot that he held shares in a company associated with Nimrod Holdings.  It did not save him that he claimed the trip was a private one.

It is good to see that ministerial standards are being applied.  And imagine what would happen over here if a Minister on an official trip to China did anything to assist a company which their family had an interest in and which made donations to the governing party?

21 comments on “Minister sacked over Chinese business trip”

  1. Turnbull’s apparently thinking about a double dissolution. He’s also trying to get cross party support for a voting change that would make it harder for single issue and one man parties to get into the senate.

    Stuart Robert is the third minister sacked in Turnbulls brief time back at the top. Plus there have been some high profile resignations. And Abbot’s still floating in the shallow end of the Liberal Party pool like a turd in budgie smugglers.

    More here:

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    And imagine what would happen over here if a Minister on an official trip to China did anything to assist a company which their family had an interest in and which made donations to the governing party?

    Yes, we seem to be more accepting of outright corruption. IMO, this is because we don’t know what corruption is. Maybe this explains why we perceive ourselves to be mostly free of corruption.

  3. ropata 3

    In the NZ National party the corruption goes to the top, so a change in behaviour has to come from elsewhere.

    FJK’s strength is dirty deals and mugging for cameras, not moral leadership.

  4. Whispering Kate 4

    Very interesting indeed. I wonder what crusher is thinking (if it even crosses her mind). How I see it, the Nat voters I know are not stupid and most probably by now are realising things are pretty murky and definitely dodgy in their favoured voting option, but and its a big but, I don’t think they will ever confess or admit they realise they have made a mistake for the embarrassment of it and their stupidity. That is why the trolls on this site are squealing loud in their protests – you know the saying “methinks you protest too much” and “no name” froths so much at the mouth and yells sarcastic abuse across the floor when he is put to the questions. One would have to be pretty lacking in the IQ department or stupid to not see the obvious in front of their eyes. Just my thoughts.

  5. A Minister here would never reach that end-point. They would mislead and lie so much the ruling Prime Minister would say “Nothing to see here” and the hosts of the most popular TV news/entertainment shows would attack any critics of the Minister’s behaviour.

  6. RedLogix 6

    And in large part because … as I’ve said a few times recently … the media over here in Aus is still in substantially better health than it is in NZ. The comparison is quite stark.

    Here they picked this issue up and without being overly-shrill, kept it on the burner until Turnbull had no choice but to act.

    • mickysavage 6.1

      Yep elements of it are very good and they tend to stick to the facts rather than the personalities of stories and from what I see they make fewer judgments.

      • JonL 6.1.1

        Unfortunately, the standard is slowly sliding over here, and the less said about the calibre of the political journalists, with a couple of exceptions…………..

  7. Keith 7

    Educated guess but if we had a minister doing the same sort of corrupt thing, well I reckon the PM would reward that minister by appointing that person to be minister some of the most ironically named ministries he could, such as Police!

    Oh and if push came to shove the PM would set up the most flakey inquiry, designed to NOT find a thing wrong. Always fools the muppets, that one!

    It’s just we are a little bit more North Korea, (aka the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea), than you may think, less the weaponry of course. I mean apart from NK, what other leader gets his preferred flag picked in a “democratic”referendum?. Just what are the chances?

  8. Tautuhi 8

    Butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, she is as honest as the day is long?

  9. ropata 9

    From a friend who has met her, Judith Collins really is as awful in person as she seems in public (and in Hager’s book). Also swears more than any woman he’s ever met…

  10. Expat 10

    Turnbull has lost 5 ministers in the last 5 weeks, 2 retired (pushed) and the other 3 let go for dishonesty, a bad look, and Australia has had 5 prime ministers in the last 5 years as well, it’s a high staff turnover industry in federal politics.

    The NSW state govt had to dismiss 11 members (over the last 2 years) over election fraud, receiving donations from developers, it didn’t stop them (NSW Liberal Party) from being re elected though even though one of the members was the premier Barry O’Farrell, the infamous $2000 bottle of wine saga which he received from a developer and couldn’t remember.

    There is even a high chance Abbott will challenge for the prime minister-ship as well with a lot of help from his friend Rupert Murdoch.

    Politics is a cut throat business.

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