Senior federal Coalition MP Stuart Robert has been accused of allegedly providing advice to a lobbying and consulting firm that helps large companies win lucrative government contracts, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The allegations, dating back to 2017 and 2018, claim Robert had also provided access to key decision-makers, including current opposition leader, Peter Dutton.
Leaked emails reported in the Sydney Morning Herald reveal how Robert allegedly used his MP status to help the firm, Synergy 360, sign up corporate clients and helping them navigate the federal public service and to meet key decision-makers.
The Canberra firm reportedly helped multinational tech companies win lucrative government contracts and smaller contracts from Services Australia.
One-third of Synergy 360 is owned by a company controlled by Queensland businessman John Margerison, a close friend and ex-business partner of Robert, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Robert was Assistant Treasurer from 2018 to 2019, before taking on the portfolio of Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Minister for Government Services up to March 2021.
One of Synergy 360’s clients is Indian multinational Infosys, which won Centrelink contracts in late 2019 and 2020 worth more than $100 million. The Sydney Morning Herald reported there is no suggestion that Robert had any involvement in awarding the contract to Infosys.
On Thursday 24 November, the Albanese Government ordered an investigation into contracts awarded in the government services portfolio.
Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten said parliamentarians using public office to “enrich private mates” is corruption, the Guardian reported.
Using question time, Shorten confirmed he had called on the chief executives of Services Australia and the National Disability Insurance Agency to investigate the contracts referred to in the reports.
“I want to say to Australians listening to this, the Albanese government believes the job of an MP is to work for constituents, not your former business partners,” he said.