Federal Minister Stuart Robert’s secret China visit probed

Federal Minister Stuart Robert is under fire for a secret visit to Beijing.

Federal Minister Stuart Robert’s secret China visit probed

Federal Minister Stuart Robert is under fire for a secret visit to Beijing where he joined his millionaire friend Paul Marks to secure a business deal between Mr Marks’ Nimrod Resources and the Chinese Government-owned Minmetals. Over the past two years, Mr Marks has donated $2 million to the Liberal Party.

At the time of his visit, Mr Robert held the positon of Assistant Defence Minister. A statement and photos on the Minmetal website claims that Mr Robert spoke in China “on behalf of the Australian Department of Defence”. While he was there, he also presented a letter and a medal on behalf of the then Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Mr Turnbull said yesterday: “The Minister travelled to China in August 2014 while on personal leave. His personal leave was approved on behalf of the prime minister at the time, in accordance with the usual procedures.”

Mr Robert has sent a letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that said he was ‘confident’ that no rules of integrity had been breached during his visit. Mr Turnbull has ordered a “thorough” investigation of Mr Robert’s trip to China.

It was also revealed that Mr Robert accepted two designer watches from a Chinese firm by the name of Liguancheng Group. After discovering the watches were genuine, he sought advice from the Clerk on entitlements. Even after confirmation from the Clerk that he could keep the watches, he decided to return them.

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    COMMENTS

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    Rod63
    9th Feb 2016
    10:21am
    Another "sense of entitlement" crook.
    Diamond Jim
    9th Feb 2016
    10:59am
    Bunch of jerks!!! How many of this LNP crowd have been involved in rorts and shady stuff! They have got to go. Their ONLY interest is in self-preservation NOT the welfare of our mighty country!
    Oars
    16th Feb 2016
    7:48am
    And of course you die-hard lefty, your precious wee labor rorts party NEVER did anything like that- just a few Million unaccounted for in the "Halls for handouts -oops sorry Schools education scheme. Get reall- we wwill NEVER forget the DEBT tyhat Gillard and her red fed mob left uis in. That is why the barrel is dry not for a few miserrable pennies that the Libs have scaped off the bottom. Clean out both your eyes- saves rubbing.
    Tom Tank
    9th Feb 2016
    12:01pm
    Is it any wonder Australia's reputation with regards to corruption has taken a nose dive of late. It appears those clowns can't even recognise the perception behaviour like this creates.
    mangomick
    9th Feb 2016
    12:08pm
    Whats wrong with that? Don't we all have millionaire friends that we fly half way around the world with to help them carry out business deals who in a way of appreciation give our favourite charity or political party a large bunch of money . Always thought that was as normal as a large Nickel plant giving away millions to a political party just before going broke and then asking for millions of Public funds from the State Government. Or do we only fly half way around the world in our own time because someone gives our political Party a bunch of money to start with and now it's time to pay the fiddler. Nothing wrong here Folks. Just look the other way and Move on.
    Janus
    9th Feb 2016
    12:55pm
    What? How silly, getting caught out.

    Snouts in the trough, again. These politicians are (mostly) all the same. This government: Same pile, different shovel.

    Never catch anyone in Labor doing deals in the background (or only for minor things, like Whitlam's government did). Or stuff from the unions. Or ...or...etc
    Oars
    16th Feb 2016
    7:51am
    Janus see my comment above next to DiamondJim- I hate wasting time on such one-eyed rubbish.
    KSS
    9th Feb 2016
    1:11pm
    There are so many issues with this report; for a start, this was NOT a secret visit but a 'private' visit - BIG difference. private in that tax payers money was NOT used to pay for anything. Not secret because according to this report Mr Robert declared the trip and gifts he received and was given advice connected with it. Hardly 'secret' then. The so-called medal has been reported elsewhere as being a lapel badge, hardly the same thing at all. If Mr Robert did in fact present a letter from Mr Abbott (and note it doesn't say who the letter was presented to or what it contained) then the visit was not a secret. We do not know the content of the letter, for all we know it was congratulations to both partners (the Chinese and the Australians) on completing a business deal that would potentially be advantageous to Australia. The Chinese love, love, love having their photographs taken with visiting foreigners particularly in business. A photograph of Mr Robert on a Chinese company website is not an indication of anything except he was in China at the time - a fact that was NOT a secret either before or since. Whether Mr Roberts did actually speak as the Assistant Defence Minister and in what capacity remains to be seen. However, he cannot be expected to deny his CV or current job description just because he is visiting another country regardless of in what capacity. Having a statement on a Chinese website referring to his job title is an indication of nothing. Finally the practise of gift-giving is very much a Chinese custom. The fact that Mr Roberts declared the gifts, sought advice and went against that advice and returned the gifts speaks volumes in his favour.

    At this time, this is a media beat-up over a private trip taken during approved leave over 18 months ago. Until the investigation is complete, I would suggest people stop making unfounded accusations. Unless you know all the facts, Mr Robert is innocent until proven guilty of something.
    Socdemtory
    9th Feb 2016
    1:18pm
    Totally agree. A definite beatup by Labor who have no trouble getting the usual suspects (Fairfax & the ABC) to run with it. Simply a distraction from their own policy bankruptcy.
    roy
    9th Feb 2016
    2:46pm
    At least, as far as we know, he didn't use the union credit card to pay for designer clothes and hookers, that's a start and something that ALP MP's have been known to do.
    Anonymous
    9th Feb 2016
    3:01pm
    Yes its hard to comment when you don"t know the whole situation and I think there are many more important things to think about than a trip that he appeared to pay out of his money.
    Oars
    16th Feb 2016
    7:54am
    Good one Mick- I almost forgot about the Hookers for Thompson scandal. To think that he told the parliament that he was being spied on while his wee wify was having a baby. Old Thomo couldn't wait to have a bit- or was that his usual lunchtimme exerciose- hookers and lunches all on one plate- paid for by the WERKERS !!! Lucky Thomo ???

    9th Feb 2016
    1:11pm
    It's open slather for the politicians, always has been, and always will be. One covering for the other and all of them doing it. "Ordered a thorough investigation", you have GOT to be kidding - just another perfunctory whitewash to cover another bum so they can all get on with filling their pockets and jewellery boxes. IF there was a do-gooder in ANY political party they would be castigated SO FAST for MORAL behaviour by their own they wouldn't last a week in office. Cynical? Yes, very, but true!
    Oars
    16th Feb 2016
    8:00am
    Maybe the Oz public will realise that the pollies they vote for are what they perceive as the best out there. Most folk just follow what their parents did. But in the good old days ALL the Pollies were Honest !!!!!!!! LOL
    Mygasheater
    9th Feb 2016
    2:00pm
    To paraphrase George Orwell's Animal Farm where some animals are more equal than others.

    In our very own Animal Farm, Parliament, some animals, MPs, are more "entitled" than others, the rest of us.
    Oars
    16th Feb 2016
    8:03am
    A farmer buddy told me "never follow a cow after she ate garlic".
    MICK
    9th Feb 2016
    3:25pm
    So here it is. As I have been saying for some time the election funding model for the current government is likely corruption at work. If you think that donating money to Liberal Party coffers does not receive a tangible benefit then I'd suggest that you might be dreaming.
    Now please explain how much the coal industry contributed the 2 years before the last election (Carbon Tax repeal). Same for the Mining Industry (Mining Tax repeal). And what about the big bankers (shredding of banking reforms to protect the public)?
    The public eagerly awaits disclosure from the current government....or the establishment of a Federal ICAC with wide ranging powers which is not controlled by government.
    Oars
    16th Feb 2016
    8:06am
    Mick I hate to advise you about the mining industry mate, but they were "on their way out" five years ago, just about the time when clever julia tried to double tax them. REAL SMART POLITICS---- ey??
    Not Senile Yet!
    15th Feb 2016
    12:53am
    If you did this in private enterprise you would be sacked before you could resign....with no entitlements!!!!
    Time for a Royal Commission into the Corrupt Party Puppets as well as their Parties....good enough for the Unions...then it's good enough for all MP's.
    As for the free for all that got hushed up after the helicopter Incident....me thinks they all gathered together and secretly decided to use you know who as a scape goat and shut the door on further investigation....because everyone on both sides has been doing the same thing!!!!
    Stop voting for Party Corrupt Puppets!!!!
    Oars
    16th Feb 2016
    8:09am
    If we paid the Pollys more, and let them spend their set allowance, this news media would have nothing to winge about- then we might read about what is going on in the REAL WORLD.