Minister Robert grew up in Bundaberg, Queensland on his family’s cane farm and attended Kepnock High School and The Rockhampton Grammar School prior to winning a scholarship to attend the Australian Defence Force Academy and subsequently the Royal Military College, Duntroon.
Minister Robert served in the Army for 12 years in Infantry and Intelligence Corps units including deploying operationally to Bougainville in 1998 as part of the Peace Monitoring Force. Whilst serving in the Army, Minister Robert completed a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and Masters degrees in both Business Administration and Information Technology.
In 2000 he left the Army and, together with a colleague, founded an IT services firm that rapidly expanded to become a nationwide business that was twice included in the Business Review Weekly Fast 100 list, which recognises the fastest growing companies in Australia.
Minister Robert was also a founding director of Watoto Australia and a member of the Watoto International board. Based in Uganda, Watoto operates one of the world’s largest non-institutional orphan care programs in a country where there are two million orphaned children due to HIV-AIDS and war.
In 2007 Minister Robert was elected Federal Member for the electorate of Fadden, located on the Gold Coast. A Shadow Defence Science, Technology and Personnel Minister in opposition, he was appointed as Assistant Minister for Defence when the Abbott Government took office in September 2013. In September 2015 he was promoted as the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Minister for Human Services and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC.
Minister Robert is married and has three sons. In rare moments of spare time he enjoys spending time with family, 4WD with his boys, learning Chinese and reading military history. He is a keen supporter of a number of community organisations and is looking forward to the Gold Coast Titans and the Gold Coast Suns bringing home the flags.