Robert is the Member for Box Hill and the Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations in the Victorian Parliament.
Robert was first elected to Parliament in 1988 at the age of 31, and since then has served the community both as a local MP and in a wide range of portfolio areas, including Attorney-General, Treasury, Finance, Industrial Relations, Planning, WorkCover, Gaming, ICT, Energy & Resources and Major Projects.
From 2010 to 2014 Robert was the Attorney-General, Minister for Finance and (from March 2013) Minister for Industrial Relations in the Coalition Government under Premiers Ted Baillieu and Denis Napthine.
Robert was elected in 1988 as the Member for Balwyn. Following the abolition of the Balwyn electorate in a redivision of electorate boundaries in 1991, Robert was elected as Member for Box Hill in 1992 and re-elected in 1996, 1999, 2002, 2006 and 2010. He has been involved in bringing about a range of key improvements in the electorate over that time, including:
– the redevelopment of Box Hill Hospital
– extending tram 109 to Box Hill
– the growth of Box Hill TAFE
– extending the Eastern Freeway from Doncaster Road to Springvale Road
as well as numerous school upgrades, kindergarten capital works and traffic light and intersection improvements.
From 1988 to 1992, he was a member of the all-party Economic and Budget Review Committee, and a member of the Treasury and Attorney-General’s Committees of the Parliamentary Liberal Party and then the Liberal-National Party Coalition.
In 1992, he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Victorian Treasurer, Alan Stockdale, helping to restore Victoria’s finances and pride after the damage caused by the Cain and Kirner Labor governments. Robert had particular responsibility assisting with legislation, financial management and the reform of ports and the water industry.
Following the 1996 election, when Alan Stockdale became Victoria’s (and the world’s) first Minister for Multimedia, Robert was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary, Treasury and Multimedia, a position he held until the Coalition lost government in October 1999.
From 1992 to 1999 he also convened the Parliamentary Coalition’s Treasury and Finance Committee. He was a member of the Coalition’s Attorney-General’s Committee 1992-1999, Education Committee 1992-1996, Tertiary Education Committee 1996-1999 and Multimedia Committee 1996-1999.
- Shadow Minister for Planning (including Major Projects) October 1999-September 2001
- Shadow Minister for WorkCover October 1999-December 2002
- Shadow Treasurer September 2001-August 2002
- Shadow Minister for Finance September 2001-December 2002
- Shadow Assistant Treasurer August-November 2002
- Shadow Minister for Gaming August-December 2002
- Shadow Treasurer November 2002-December 2006
- Shadow Attorney General December 2006-December 2010
- Shadow Minister for Information and Communication Technology December 2006-August 2007
- Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations December 2006-November 2009
- Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources December 2006-November 2009
- Shadow Minister for Finance November 2009-December 2010
Robert was also from 2001 until 2006 a member of the all-party Public Accounts and Estimates Committee of the Victorian Parliament. From 2007 to 2010 he was the Deputy Chair of the Law Reform Committee and the Dispute Resolution Committee , and Deputy Chair of the Legislative Assembly’s Privileges Committee.
Robert was born in 1957 and grew up in St Albans, in Melbourne’s west, the elder of two children. His father, Jack, was an aircraft mechanic and his mother, Peggy, was an accounts clerk before giving up work to raise her family.
Robert went to St Albans East Primary School and St Albans Heights Primary School, St Albans High School (now St Albans Secondary College) and University High School before entering Melbourne University in 1975, where he obtained a B.Com (Hons) in 1980, an LLB in 1982 and a BA in 1986.
He was also Treasurer of the Melbourne University Students’ Representative Council in 1976-77. While Treasurer, he brought Supreme Court proceedings against the University, members of the SRC and members of the Australian Union of Students, alleging misspending of compulsorily collected student fees. His successes in these proceedings resulted in changes to the law relating to student unionism in Victoria.
After completing his law degree, Robert was a solicitor practicing in commercial, financial and labour law prior to entering Parliament.
Robert joined the Liberal Party in 1976. He was President of the Forest Hill Young Liberals from 1986 to 1987, an Executive Member of the Victorian Young Liberal Movement in 1986 and Vice-Chairman of the Deakin Electorate Committee from 1986 to 1988. He has been a member of the Party’s Constitutional Committee since 1987.
Robert is married with 2 children, and lives in Surrey Hills.
Here are links to the Parliament of Victoria’s Hansard search online with all of Robert’s speeches in Parliament for the periods shown:
- 1991 and 1992
- 52nd Parliament (1992 – 1996)
- 53rd Parliament (1996 – 1999)
- 54th Parliament (1999 – 2002)
- 55th Parliament (2003 – 2006)
- 56th Parliament (2006 – 2010)
- 57th Parliament (2010 – 2014)
- 58th Parliament (2014 – )
Hansard (the official record of the debates in Parliament) was not published online until 1992. However, here is a link to Robert’s First Speech in Parliament in 1988.
(Speech to forum organised by International Commission of Jurists (Victoria), 18 June 2013) Introduction I thank the International Commission of Jurists (Victoria) for organising this forum and welcome the opportunity to take part. My presentation ... Read More