Andrew Robb

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The Honourable
Andrew Robb
AO MP
Andrew Robb MP.jpg
Minister for Trade and Investment
Incumbent
Assumed office
18 September 2013
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Preceded by Richard Marles
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Goldstein
Incumbent
Assumed office
9 October 2004
Preceded by David Kemp
Personal details
Born (1951-08-20) 20 August 1951 (age 62)
Epping, Victoria, Australia
Political party Liberal Party of Australia
Alma mater La Trobe University
Profession Economist, politician
Religion Roman Catholic
Website andrewrobb.com.au

Andrew John Robb AO (born 20 August 1951) is an Australian politician who is the current Liberal Party member for the Division of Goldstein in the House of Representatives, as well as the Minister for Trade and Investment since September 2013.[1] A formal federal director of the Liberal Party, he was first elected to parliament at the 2004 federal election, having previously managed the party's successful campaign at the 1996 federal election, which ended 13 years of Labor government.

Background[edit]

Robb, one of nine children, was born to Frank and Marie Robb, on a dairy farm in Epping which lies 18 kilometres (11 mi) north of Melbourne. He was educated at Dookie Agricultural College, Parade College and La Trobe University, and has qualifications in economics and agricultural science. He was an agricultural economist with the Victorian Department of Agriculture and a Tutor in Economics at La Trobe University before being an economist for the National Farmers' Federation, and later Executive Director of both the National Farmers' Federation and the Cattle Council of Australia.

Liberal Party[edit]

Robb became Deputy Director of the Liberal Party before being appointed Chief of Staff to Andrew Peacock, then Leader of the Opposition, in 1989. In 1990, after Andrew Peacock's resignation after his election defeat, Robb was appointed Federal Director of the Liberal Party.

In this capacity Robb worked with the next Leader of the Liberal Party, John Hewson, in the unsuccessful 1993 federal election campaign. Robb claimed in 1991 that Peter Reith and Hewson were spooked into releasing their policies too early.[2] He was a Federal Director and campaign manager for John Howard in the 1996 federal election campaign, which defeated the Keating government and brought the Liberals to power after 13 years in Opposition.

Professional career[edit]

Robb resigned in 1997 (he was replaced by Lynton Crosby) and became a business consultant based in Sydney. He was Honorary Finance Director for the NSW Division of the Liberal Party and a member of the NSW State Executive. In that time Robb also sat on the boards of numerous Australian companies including Australia's largest consulting engineering company, Sinclair Knight Merz. Robb was also a board member of community organisations including the Garvan Medical Research Foundation and the 'Big Brothers Big Sisters' organisation. In 2003, Robb was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to politics, agriculture and the community.[3]

Parliamentary career[edit]

In 2004, he was comfortably elected to the safe Liberal seat of Goldstein in Melbourne and was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs on 27 January 2006. His time in this portfolio was marked by introducing a Citizenship discussion paper which encouraged public debate about whether Australia required a formal citizenship test. Robb argued that a formal citizenship test would be a clear incentive for aspiring citizens to have basic English language skills and understanding of their community.[4] Robb also focused on dealing with settlement issues for refugees and the challenges of multi-faith relations in Australia.

In 2007, Robb was elevated to the Ministry and took on the role as Minister for Vocational and Further Education. Following the Liberal Party's defeat at the 2007 federal election, Robb put himself forward as a candidate for Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party. In a ballot of Liberal caucus members, Julie Bishop prevailed with 44 votes, ahead of Robb who won 25 votes and Christopher Pyne with 18 votes.[5] The then leader of the Liberal Party, former Defence Minister, Brendan Nelson, announced that Robb would be Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs in the new Coalition Shadow Cabinet.

Following a front-bench re-shuffle in March 2010, Robb was appointed Shadow Minister for Finance, Deregulation and Debt Reduction, a post previously held by Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce, and Chairman of the Coalition Policy Development Committee.[6]

Robb was re-elected at the 2010 election and was appointed Shadow Minister for Finance, Deregulation and Debt Reduction and retained his position as Chairman of the Coalition Policy Development Committee.[7]

Robb is a republican.[8]

Robb is also the co-publisher of The Party Room alongside Senator Mitch Fifield, a journal designed to promote new policy discussion within the Federal Coalition.

Depression disclosure[edit]

On 19 September 2009, in Laurie Oakes's column in The Australian, Robb disclosed that he was stepping down from the opposition front bench for three months to address a form of depression brought on by Diurnal Variation, which is typically experienced as positive mood variation (PMV – mood being worse upon waking and better in the evening).[9] Robb disclosed that, since adolescence, he had suffered depression for several hours each day in the morning.[10]

The following week, Robb said in an interview with 3AW's Neil Mitchell that he had found "doing things increasingly more difficult, I could be taking on more responsibilities especially in a public sense and decided to confront it a few weeks ago. Rang Jeff Kennett and within three days he had me in front one of the best professionals in the state and this guy said you know you've had a problem for fifty years, you've had it for fifty years but he said it was fixable, which was fantastic."[10] Robb was publicly praised as doing a brave thing for revealing a private matter and personalising it, thus sending messages to the community that if they might be going through a similar thing it could be addressed.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Dr David Kemp
Member for Goldstein
2004–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Gary Hardgrave
Minister for Vocational and Further Education
2007
Position abolished
Preceded by
Richard Marles
as Minister for Trade
Minister for Trade and Investment
2013–present
Incumbent