Stuart Robert

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The Honourable
Stuart Robert
MP
Assistant Minister for Defence
Incumbent
Assumed office
18 September 2013
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Preceded by Warren Snowdon (Defence Science and Personnel)
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Fadden
Incumbent
Assumed office
24 November 2007
Preceded by David Jull
Personal details
Born Stuart Rowland Robert
(1970-12-11) 11 December 1970 (age 44)
Cranbourne, Victoria, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal National Party
Spouse(s) Chantelle
Children 3
Alma mater Royal Military College Duntroon;
Central Queensland University;
Queensland University of Technology;
University of New South Wales
Occupation Business recruitment officer
Religion Pentecostal[1][2]
Awards Australian Service Medal;
Australian Defence Medal
Military service
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1988–1999
Rank Captain
Unit 3RAR; 51FNQR

Stuart Rowland Robert (born 11 December 1970) is an Australian politician. He has been a member of the Australian House of Representatives for the seat of Fadden in Queensland representing the Liberal Party since the 2007 federal election; and then the Liberal National Party since the 2010 federal election. Robert has served in the Abbott Ministry as the Assistant Minister for Defence since 18 September 2013.[3][4]

Background and early years[edit]

Robert was born in Victoria and spent his early years growing up on a sugar cane farm in Bundaberg, Queensland. In his maiden speech to parliament, Robert attributed the development of his working ethic to those early years spent with his parents, watching them struggle to provide the best education and family unit possible.[1] They would later embark on a range of successful small business ventures.[citation needed]

Robert was educated at Rockhampton Grammar School where, at the age of 17, he secured a scholarship to the Australian Defence Force Academy as an Army Officer Cadet. Following the Academy, Robert attended the Royal Military College Duntroon.[5]

He completed a Masters in Business Administration at Central Queensland University, a Masters in Information Technology at the Queensland University of Technology and graduated from the University of New South Wales with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours.

In 2008 Robert noted, "My family, like many others, struggled financially to ensure that my siblings and I could enjoy the best possible education. I completed my schooling at the Rockhampton Grammar School, and my experience there strengthened my resolve that parents should be able to send their children to a school of their choice. I note that many parents struggle and sacrifice to do so. I firmly believe the federal government has a responsibility to support the private school system as the states do the public system."[1]

Early career[edit]

Military career[edit]

Robert’s professional career began in the military where he served for twelve years in units including the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment and the 51st Battalion, The Far North Queensland Regiment. The latter, based on Thursday Island, was at the time the largest indigenous unit in the Defence Force.[citation needed] It was also during this time that Robert completed his Masters degrees, mostly part-time.

A vast majority of Robert's military career was spent working within military intelligence and security and he worked his way to the rank of captain. This included a four month tour of duty with the peace monitoring force in Bougainville following the civil war.[6][self-published source?]

Business career[edit]

Upon leaving the Army in 1999, Robert founded the IT services firm GMT Recruitment with colleague Andrew Chantler. GMT Recruitment subsequently grew to be a nationwide company and was named a Business Review Weekly Fast 100 award winner in 2006. The list, which recognises the fastest-growing 100 companies in Australia, again featured GMT Recruitment in both 2007 and 2008.[citation needed]

Support for African orphans[edit]

Robert is a founding director of Watoto Australia and a member for the Watoto International Board, which operates one of the world’s largest orphan programs.[citation needed] Operating out of Uganda, which currently has more than two million orphaned children due to HIV-AIDS and war, the Watoto model is to rescue children and care for their physical, spiritual and emotional needs. This includes housing with a mother and new siblings. The houses are grouped into villages with electricity, running water, schools, medical clinics and auditoriums.[6][self-published source?]

Robert’s rationale for his involvement was detailed in his maiden speech, "The premise [of the Watoto model] is that orphaned children growing up in a home with a loving mother, with an identity and with an opportunity to go to the best schools, universities and technical colleges, will shine more so than if simply placed in an institution. I believe that, as we rescue a child, we raise a leader and we will rebuild nations. Children are 100 per cent of the future of every nation. We have a responsibility to protect our children and provide them with the best of education and care to preserve our nation’s future. We also have a responsibility as good international citizens to reach out with appropriate aid and development to build nations and enhance our international security and standing."[1]

Political career[edit]

In 1991, after observing the effects of recession, Robert joined the Liberal Party. As he later exclaimed to parliament, "I was motivated to action as I witnessed the diabolical consequences of the recession which, apparently, 'we had to have', the crippling interest rates and the very high level of industrial disputes which so adversely impacted on my family and many surrounding families. Through all of this turbulence, the urgency to ensure that this place [was] governed for all Australia and not just for sectional interests became self-evident."[1]

In 2007 Robert was elected to the House of Representatives representing the seat of Fadden. Two years later, on 8 December 2009, Robert was appointed Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence. On 14 September 2010 he was promoted to Shadow Minister for Defence, Science, Technology and Personnel.[7]

After the 2013 federal election Robert was appointed the Assistant Minister for Defence in the Abbott Government.

Policy stances[edit]

Robert is an advocate of reforming the indexation rules surrounding military superannuation in both the Defence Force Retirements Benefits scheme and the Defence Force Retirement & Death Benefits scheme. He has spoken in Parliament on a number of occasions to argue that these indexation rules should reflect the "unique nature of military service".[8] He has stated that such service deserves a superannuation scheme with fair indexation that is "indexed in the same way as the age pension and service pensions for those aged 55 and over".[9] Robert has also criticised Labor and the Australian Greens for their lack of policy in this area.[10]

In 2012 Labor sought to remove the entitlement from currently serving members of the Australian Defence Force who are single which allows them one free annual trip home. Robert argued against removing this entitlement.[11]

Robert believes the realities of war pose different kinds of physical challenges "On a route fitness assessment you may be forced to carry 25 kg"..."But can you carry that weight when you haven't slept for days? Can you carry that weight after parachuting in the rain and landing in the mud?"[12]

He has also rejected comparisons from critics who point to places like Israel which has women in frontline roles; stating that Israel has regional threats that cannot be translated to Australia. Robert has further said that women in such positions pose a security risk as hostages, stating that male soldiers would react to female soldiers being tortured differently, potentially endangering troops or causing them to revel state secrets. "The attitude with men [in capture] is just 'Suck it in and welcome to captivity,' but if they watching a woman suffer like that, it's a whole different ball game."[12]

Personal life[edit]

Robert has attributed his commitment to family, charity and political life to his strong Pentecostal Christian beliefs, and has modelled his morals and values around his faith.[1] Robert was married in 1996 to his wife Chantelle and has three sons.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Robert, Stuart (13 February 2008). "Governor-General's Speech: Address-in-Reply". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Stuart Robert MP". Twitter. 
  3. ^ "Tony Abbott's cabinet and outer ministry". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  4. ^ "Abbott Ministry" (PDF). Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Commonwealth of Australia. 18 September 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  5. ^ "Mr Stuart Robert MP: Profile". Q&A (ABC TV). 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Robert, Stuart. "Stuart's biography". robert.com.au. Stuart Robert. Retrieved 4 July 2013. [self-published source?]
  7. ^ "Mr Stuart Robert MP". Senators and Members. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Robert, Stuart. "Military Superannuation". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  9. ^ Robert, Stuart. "Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment Bill 2012". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  10. ^ "Oakeshott military super motion a Political stunt". 11 October 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "Govt backflips on flights for ADF singles". The Australian. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Kamenev, Marina (1 October 2009). "How Soon Will Australia's Female Soldiers Be on the Frontlines?". Time. Retrieved 24 May 2010. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
David Jull
Member for Fadden
2007–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Warren Snowdon
as Minister for Defence Science and Personnel
Assistant Minister for Defence
2013–present
Incumbent