Aussie minister quits over business deal

SYDNEY • Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday accepted the resignation of a Cabinet minister who admitted he had attended a contract signing between China's Minmetals Corp and an Australian company with which he had financial links.

Two other ministers quit a day earlier in unrelated circumstances, paving the way for a Cabinet reshuffle just months before a general election is due.

A government inquiry found Human Services Minister Stuart Robert had attended a meeting between unlisted Nimrod Resources and Minmetals during an unofficial trip to Beijing in 2014.

Mr Turnbull said Mr Robert had offered his resignation after becoming aware that he held shares in another company, Metallum Holdings, which had an unspecified interest in Nimrod Resources.

"Mr Robert recognised that this connection would create the impression that at the time he went to Beijing, he had something personally to gain from the Nimrod Resources project," he said.

Mr Turnbull's government has been dogged by scandals since he became leader after a party-room coup in September which dumped Mr Tony Abbott.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 13, 2016, with the headline 'Aussie minister quits over business deal'. Print Edition | Subscribe