MEMBER FOR ISAACS
SENATOR MURRAY WATT
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA
LABOR SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND
MORE CONFLICTS QUESTIONS FOR STUART ROBERT
Stuart Robert is facing new questions about potential conflicts in funding decisions made while he was the Minister for Government Services and the NDIS.
Numerous companies owned by Gold Coast businessman John Margerison received millions through those agencies for the lease of a property and for disability and other services while Mr Robert was the responsible Minister.
Stuart Robert has previously described Mr Margerison as a ‘very good friend’. They were also co-directors of a company, which made investments with and for Mr Robert, until he was elevated to the Morrison ministry.
Officials at Senate Estimates were unable to answer serious questions including whether:
- Mr Robert discussed these contracts, or funding programs under his control, with Mr Margerison;
- Mr Robert declared any conflicts of interest in relation to these contracts;
- Mr Robert has any financial interests in Mr Margerison’s companies; or
· Mr Margerison, or one of his many companies, is or was the trustee of Mr Robert’s blind trust.
On his return to the Morrison Ministry in 2018, Mr Robert said he transferred his extensive investments to a blind trust and he claims to not know what is in it.
Yet Senate Estimates was told Mr Robert does not hold any interests in Mr Margerison’s companies. If Mr Robert knows that, is his trust really blind? What other investments does he know about?
Only five months ago Christian Porter resigned over secret donations to a blind trust established to fund his defamation action. At the time, the Prime Minister said Mr Porter’s resignation was due to his ‘inability…to be able to practically provide further information because of the nature of those arrangements…that would allow Minister Porter to conclusively rule out a perceived conflict’.
How are Minister Robert’s circumstances any different to those that cost Christian Porter his job?
Mr Robert must come clean - who is his mystery trustee, what does he really know about his investments and what steps has he taken to manage any conflicts of interest?
THURSDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2022