Stuart Robert, a former cabinet minister for the Liberal Party and a frontbencher in the opposition, has now formally resigned from the House of Representatives, some two weeks after making the announcement.
As anger over the timing of his leaving grew, Mr. Robert, who holds the assistant treasury ministry in Peter Dutton’s shadow cabinet, wrote to the House Speaker Milton Dick to propose his resignation.
“Government sources have told me that Stuart Robert has written to parliament tendering his resignation from the parliament immediately,” Sky News Australia Political Editor Andrew Clennell revealed on Thursday morning as monitored by Ghent Multimedia.
“There has been speculation he wouldn’t be returning to parliament next week.
“It’s stopped a difficult debate about the fact that he wasn’t going to be in parliament but had not yet resigned as a backbencher and a shadow assistant minister.”
Only one day after receiving harsh criticism from Prime member Anthony Albanese on a visit close to Mr. Robert’s Gold Coast seat of Fadden, the former cabinet member formally resigned from his position.
Mr. Albanese deemed it “completely unacceptable” because Mr. Robert had not resigned formally but was still collecting his full pay as shadow minister.
“He said that he’s resigning but he hasn’t resigned, so no date can be set for the byelection, but he’s not turning up to parliament. That is not business as usual,” Mr Albanese said in Tweed Heads
“If you’re a Member of Parliament, your basic duty – unless there’s a good reason why you’re not in parliament, with other duties or ill health – you have to turn up.
“He continues to be paid as the representative of the people of Fadden and they deserve better.”
With the Speaker announcing he had received the letter of resignation and was examining potential dates, Mr. Robert’s seat will now be up for a byelection.
Mr. Robert, who was elected to the Queensland seat of Fadden in 2007, will finish a 16-year career in federal politics.
The Liberal MP played a significant role in former prime minister Scott Morrison’s administration, helping to secure 147 million dollars for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
Before being named minister for employment from 2021 to 2022, the 52-year-old had served as minister for government services and the National Disability Insurance Scheme in 2019.
Mr. Robert just announced that he will step down in the coming weeks to better support his family.
“For the last 16 years, I have to the best of my ability served the people of Fadden,” he wrote.
“It is now time for my family to have a husband, a father and a son to stand by them.”
In spite of this, Mr. Robert acknowledged that his tenure in politics has been “tough” as a result of his involvement in the Robodebt scandal.
“I am the first to acknowledge my time in parliament has not been the smoothest ride. Politics is tough. People throw the kitchen sink at you,” he added.
“I do hope civility does eventually come to the threat of politics.
“But I do fear division has well and truly entrenched itself in the current Parliament. A kinder, gentler Parliament it is not.”