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Stuart Robert resigns as Human Services Minister -

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MARK COLVIN: After five days of mounting pressure, Stuart Robert has resigned from his job as Federal Human Services Minister.

A review by the head of the Prime Minister's Department found that Mr Robert had breached ministerial standards.

He made a private trip to China in 2014 with a friend and Liberal Party donor Paul Marks, but used his position as an assistant minister in a way that appeared to help Mr Marks' company, Nimrod Resources.

In a further revelation today, the departmental review found that Stuart Robert owned shares in a trust with links to Nimrod Resources.

In the end, the assistant minister jumped before he was pushed, vacating another ministerial position in time for a frontbench reshuffle expected this weekend.

From Canberra, Peta Donald reports.

PETA DONALD: Stuart Robert spent this week in Parliament defending his trip to Beijing with his friend Paul Marks, who has donated $2 million to the Liberal Party.

STUART ROBERT: I thank the Member for his question regarding a visit I undertook overseas in a personal capacity in 2014.

Can I say to the House I am confident I have not acted inappropriately and as the Prime Minister said yesterday, this matter has been referred to the highest public servant in the land, Dr Martin Parkinson PSM, for review, and I of course will fully assist the secretary in his review.

PETA DONALD: But tonight his ministerial career is over.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced it in a statement this afternoon.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Dr Parkinson concluded that Mr Robert had acted inconsistently with the Statement of Ministerial Standards, although he accepts that Mr Robert may not have intended to do so.

PETA DONALD: Dr Martin Parkinson, the secretary of the Prime Minister's department, investigated the China trip and whether the then assistant defence minister had used his public office for private advantage, which is against the rules for ministers.

Stuart Robert took part in a signing ceremony in Beijing for a mining deal involving Mr Marks' company, then took Nimrod Resources along with him to a meeting with the Chinese government the next day.

It was also revealed today in Malcolm Turnbull's statement that Stuart Robert's family trust had shares in Nimrod Resources that he says he was unaware of.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: 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.

As a result, Mr Robert has asked me not to consider him in the pending reshuffle of the ministry.

PETA DONALD: After enduring four days of questions in the Parliament, Stuart Robert has gone. It won't please the Treasurer, his strongest and most senior supporter.

As Mr Robert became increasingly isolated, Scott Morrison made a point of walking to and from parliamentary Question Time with him each day this week.

On Monday, when the story broke, Mr Morrison angrily dismissed it as a beat-up.

SCOTT MORRISON: That's an offensive suggestion, Paul. It's a massive overreach and it's a shocking beat-up.

PETA DONALD: As late as this morning, the new leader of the Nationals Barnaby Joyce on Channel Nine was still supporting Stuart Robert.

BARNABY JOYCE: I haven't yet seen what is it that he has done wrong? What is his crime? Can someone please tell me what the crime is here?

Because what we have is allegations he met people - if meeting people in China is a crime, then every politician in this building is gone.

PETA DONALD: He couldn't have known about the statement soon to come from the Prime Minister.

Hours later, in an interview on 2GB, Barnaby Joyce had changed his tune.

BARNABY JOYCE: Malcolm's dealt with this. You have to give people a chance to get all the details out - you can't just on the first sign of smoke, you know, go out and shoot somebody.

You've got to find all the details and once the details are apparent you've got to say sorry, goodnight Irene.

PETA DONALD: And so, for Stuart Robert's time on the frontbench, it's goodnight Irene.

Labor leader Bill Shorten accuses the Prime Minister of 'taking out the trash' by announcing it in a statement on a Friday afternoon.

BILL SHORTEN: Malcolm Turnbull is too arrogant to answer questions in the Parliament on the Stuart Robert scandal, too arrogant to face the media, too arrogant to be accountable to the Australian people.

PETA DONALD: Stuart Robert's gone the same way as Jamie Briggs and Mal Brough, forced off the frontbench.

It leaves Malcolm Turnbull with up to five vacancies to play with as he puts the finishing touches on a new ministerial line-up.

He could unveil it as soon as tomorrow.

MARK COLVIN: Peta Donald.