Andrew Robb rejects criticism after taking job at Chinese firm Landbridge
3rd Nov 2016
Former trade minister Andrew Robb has rejected criticism of him working as a consultant to Chinese firm Landbridge, after facing questioning from political opponents and the Australia Defence Association (ADA).
The ABC revealed this week that Mr Robb had taken the role with the Chinese group, who control the Port of Darwin.
Speaking at an Australian Chinese Business Summit in Sydney, Mr Robb said any criticism was unfair, and that he would not use any information that was not available to the public.
“I understand very clearly as a former senior cabinet minister the responsibilities that I have got and are required of me, and I have no intention of breaching those responsibilities,” he said.
ADA executive director Neil James said he has concerns about Mr Robb taking the job, given that Navy and Border Force ships use the area leased by the Chinese company.
It follows concerns last year raised at the highest levels of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) about the lease of the Darwin port to Landbridge.
Mr Robb said he made no apology for looking to build relationships to increase trade and investment for Australia, and that he was not concerned by any perceptions that might exist.
“I know my responsibilities … I intend to act with integrity,” he said.
“It takes resolve to break through a lot of the prejudices that are around.
“We’ve got opportunities for Australia that we’ve never seen in our history … It requires us to build relationships with countries that are around us in the region.”
Under the ministerial code of conduct former ministers are banned from lobbying the Australian Government for 18 months, meaning Mr Robb will need to wait another year before he can advocate on trade matters.