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The Australian Ibero-American Business Council (AIABC)

In November 2018 the Sydney Morning Herald reported on the Australian Ibero-American Business Council (AIABC), a group founded in April of that year by Stuart Robert and John Margerison.

The Australian Ibero-American Business Council's (AIABC's) LinkedIn Header overlayed a photograph of attendees of the AIABC's launch event. The text "The Australian Ibero-American Business Council" is foregrounded.

The article featured a hyperlink to the AIABC’s website (the URL no longer returns a website pertinent to the council), which at the time reportedly described the council as a "not for profit, apolitical" organisation which was aimed at the “advancement of trade, investment, public policy and cultural understanding” between Australia and 22 Ibero-American nations and which provided "private and public sector leaders with a platform to engage in high-level dialogue on mutually beneficial economic and public policy issues".

The AIABC’s website reportedly had 22 members listed on its website, the majority of which were companies which had donated nearly $250,000 to the Liberal-National Party in the two years prior, either directly or via the company owners.


Mr. Robert stated that the origin for the council’s founding was from his time as chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties. In this capacity, Mr. Robert finalised a number of trade deals with South American countries and noted that there was “zero engagement at a serious government or diplomatic level" with South America:

"So I went to some business guys [and] said we've got to build this and get it done properly…And then encourage everyone to connect with the emerging market in terms of where we're going to go…The two great emerging markets are South America and of course Africa."

Mr. Robert also denied that Mr. Margerison was engaged in fundraising for the AIABC:

"There's no fundraising involved [with AIABC], its board is bipartisan, it was a bipartisan launch connected to the parliamentary friends of Ibero America trade and commerce...When I set it up I was the patron, to say hey 'I think this is a great idea and I'm going to get this thing up'. But as soon as I became a minister I resigned from that…I don't have any role at all.”

According to SMH journalist Nigel Gladstone, the AIABC had its address listed as the 28th floor of an office building in the Sydney CBD. However, reportedly, the council was not registered with the building’s ground floor lobby and no physical office on the 28th floor.

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