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Andrew Robb’s $880k China consultancy started day before 2016 election

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Deceptive Conduct | Liberal Party | QED
Liberal Party

Andrew Robb’s $880k China consultancy started day before 2016 election

2016 – 2019

Former trade minister Liberal MP Andrew Robb accepted an $880,000-a-year salary with Chinese billionaire Ye Cheng’s Landbridge Group immediately after quitting parliament.

Mr Robb, the architect of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, began consulting to Ye Cheng the day before the July 2 federal election in 2016, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Landbridge group had been granted a 99-year lease on Port Darwin in 2015 during Robb’s time as trade minister.

When questioned about his involvement with Landbridge, Mr Robb said in a statement: “I can confirm that I fully understand my responsibilities as a former member of cabinet, and I can also confirm that I have, at all times, acted in accordance with those responsibilities.”

In early 2019, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Robb had quietly ceased his controversial consultancy with Landbridge as the deadline loomed for lobbyists for overseas state interests to sign up to Australia’s new foreign influence register.

Mr Robb was reported to have pocketed more than $2 million plus expenses in his time. A company document revealed that the consulting contract was so vague and ill-defined he would be paid even if he did nothing.

In late 2018, the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme became active with the launch of a public register for people who seek to influence the Australian political process on behalf of foreign interests.

Mr Robb said he was not doing business in Australia so could not be captured by the new scheme.

In December 2017, then Attorney-General George Brandis suggested that Mr Robb would have to sign up to the new register.

Democracy under siege from the rising forces of plutocracy

What's a rort?

Conflicts of Interest

Redirecting funding to pet hobbies; offering jobs to the boys without a proper tender process; secretly bankrolling candidates in elections; taking up private sector jobs in apparent breach of parliament’s code of ethics, the list goes on.

Deceptive Conduct

Claiming that greenhouse gas emissions have gone down when the facts clearly show otherwise; breaking the law on responding to FoI requests; reneging on promised legislation; claiming credit for legislation that doesn’t exist; accepting donations that breach rules. You get the drift of what behaviour this category captures.

Election Rorts

In the months before the last election, the Government spent hundreds of millions of dollars of Australian taxpayers’ money on grants for sports, community safety, rural development programs and more. Many of these grants were disproportionally awarded to marginal seats, with limited oversight and even less accountability.

Dubious Travel Claims

Ministerial business that just happens to coincide with a grand final or a concert; electorate business that must be conducted in prime tourist locations, or at the same time as party fundraisers. All above board, maybe, but does it really pass the pub test? Or does it just reinforce the fact that politicians take the public for mugs?

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