Is John Margerison a philanthropist or a criminal on the run?

John Margerison
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The tragic tale of John Margerison serves as a warning that not everything that glitters is gold.
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Australian philanthropist John Margerison lives on the Gold Coast. Before beginning his entrepreneurial pursuits, he earned a degree in commerce from Bond University. He has launched companies in a variety of industries, such as jewellery, real estate development, lending, IT software, and health services. John Margerison often takes part in charitable activities.

He likes charitable endeavours where you can see how your donations are being used and the difference they are making. Over the past seven years, he claims to have contributed to the provision of 1.5 million meals worldwide. By purchasing airfares to Australia, he assisted 41 people in fleeing Ukraine. He also made a sizeable donation to help 70 children escape sex trafficking. He also supports dental initiatives for kids who cannot afford to get their teeth cleaned.

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28/11/2023 Update
As of now, John Margerison has not responded, nor has he apologized for his misdeeds. He has ignored our efforts to highlight the problems faced by his victims. Furthermore, he has only focused on propagating his fake PR.

According to the investigation, Stuart Robert Backer has departed the nation and “severed all ties.”

An important witness who was scheduled to testify at a hearing on Friday in a parliamentary investigation into the consultancy firm Synergy 360 has “severed all ties” with Australia.

Former Synergy 360 co-owner John Margerison served as Stuart Robert’s primary fundraiser and was also a former Liberal MP and minister who just left the federal legislature.

There is no evidence to support Synergy 360’s claim that it set up a route to covertly pay Robert in exchange for his assistance in obtaining government contracts.

John Margerison was scheduled to appear before the joint committee of public accounts and audit, which is presided over by Labor MP Julian Hill, to respond to inquiries about the National Disability Insurance Agency and Services Australia’s procurement practices.

From May 2019 to March 2021, Robert held the positions of minister of government services and minister overseeing the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Margerison’s attorney informed the committee that John Margerison was currently residing abroad, according to Hill in a statement.

Margerison’s current location is unknown, however, his attorney has been approached for comment.

The MP stated that he had learned through Margerison’s attorney that the businessman had “severed all ties with the country of Australia many weeks ago,” according to a statement made on behalf of the committee.

It is a fairly unexpected turn of events, according to Mr. Margerison’s lawyer, who now says that he has left and cut all links with Australia, Hill said. Mr. Margerison’s whereabouts are still very mysterious.

The audit committee will keep looking into the matter.

The [committee] still has the authority to suggest referrals to other investigative agencies with more resources and authority, according to Hill.

John Margerison was the primary link between Synergy 360 and Stuart Robert, according to Government Services Minister Bill Shorten, and despite repeated efforts by the government, parliament, and media to figure out what had happened, “Mr. John Margerison has chosen to leave Australia and reside overseas, rather than adhere to an order to provide documents and appear at an upcoming hearing to answer further questions about his role in this scandal,” Shorten said.

Many questions remain unanswered, not the least of which is why Mr. John Margerison was given a sizable portion of Synergy 360 shares, what his responsibilities as a director were, and where the money that Mr. Robert had previously disclosed on his register of members’ interests was ultimately going.

“Mr. John Margerison was a successful Queensland LNP fundraiser. Now, the opposition must reveal what they know about his actions, including his choice to relocate abroad.

In a sworn declaration before a parliamentary inquiry, Anthony Daly, a former insider of the consultancy firm and the ex-husband of one of the company’s former owners, businesswoman Kham Xaysavanh, said that Synergy 360 intended to route money to Robert.

Daly provided the statement to the joint committee of public accounts and audit in order to aid its inquiries after a government examination discovered in March that contracts associated with Synergy 360 that involved $374 million in taxpayer money need additional inquiry.

Robert recognized that his time in parliament had not been easy and that “the kitchen sink” had been “thrown at you” when he announced his resignation in May. In a recent by-election, the Coalition gained 2.8% of the vote, but the Liberal National Party maintained its hold on the Fadden seat.

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A businessman connected to Stuart Robert won’t be investigated since he “severed all ties” with Australia.

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Despite the fact that his attorney claims John Margerison now resides abroad, he was scheduled to testify before a parliamentary committee hearing on government contracts.

According to his attorney, a businessman with connections to former Liberal MP Stuart Robert would not be subject to a parliamentary committee inquiry because he “severed all ties” with Australia.

The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA) is looking into the process of awarding government contracts. Allegations that lobbying firm Synergy 360 recommended a framework that would benefit Robert financially have been made, which Robert vehemently denies.

The charge has been refuted by Robert “in the strongest possible terms” and he claims there is “zero evidence” to support it.

On Friday, John Margerison, a colleague of Robert’s, was scheduled to appear before a hearing on procurement at Services Australia and the National Disability Insurance Agency. After Margerison’s lawyer informed the committee that his client now lived abroad, had cut all ties to Australia, and believed himself to be outside the purview of parliament, the committee chair, Julian Hill, said on Monday that the pertinent portion of the hearing could no longer proceed.

In accordance with the plan outlined, 20% of the shares owned by former executive director Kham Xaysavanh of Synergy 360 would be transferred to United Marketing, a company under Margerison’s control, the committee was informed in June.

Anthony Daly, Xaysavanh’s former business and personal partner, claimed it was planned “to facilitate the flow of funds through United Marketing and on to Stuart Robert.”

In a statement to the committee, Daly stated that the major goal of the arrangement was to ensure Stuart Robert’s participation and cooperation in obtaining federal government contracts.

Bill Shorten, the minister of government services, stated in parliament in June that John Margerison had provided documentation to the committee proving that he had instructed his accountant to transfer Synergy 360 profits to a trust with Robert as a beneficiary.

Robert said that he had never had a stake in a business that had ever gotten assistance from Synergy 360.

Margerison’s attorney remained mum on his client’s whereabouts on Monday. Hill stated that Margerison’s whereabouts were “a matter of great mystery” and that the committee will take the lawyer’s letter into consideration at its upcoming meeting.

“It is a somewhat surprising turn of events indeed that Mr. Margerison’s lawyer now claims he has left and severed all ties with Australia,” he said.

“The committee will reach conclusions based on the information at hand. The JCPAA still has the authority to suggest referrals to other investigating agencies with more resources and authority.

Robert withdrew from the Fadden seat on the Gold Coast, which prompted a byelection on July 15 that was won by Cameron Caldwell, a liberal.

The “friends” of Stuart Robert

Bill Shorten, the Minister for Government Services and the NDIS, said during Question Time:

According to today’s reports in The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, the Member for Fadden used his position as a federal MP in 2017 and 2018 to help the lobbying and consulting firm Synergy 360 sign up corporate clients with the promise of helping them navigate the federal public service and political cycle and meet key decision-makers, including senior Coalition ministers.

Nick McKenzie and David Crowe, who wrote the article for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, didn’t go into specifics about who released the emails.

Stuart Robert stood up to address the House of Representatives straight after the question period, claiming he had been “most egregiously” misrepresented. He categorically denied “the accusations and the innuendo” made in the article.

David Milo, managing director and majority shareholder of Synergy 360, is mentioned frequently in the exposed emails.

Minister Shorten pointed out that “Synergy 360 is not a registered lobbyist,” though.

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Major shareholder of Synergy 360 and Stuart Robert’s previous business partner in JM National Property Pty Ltd is John Margerison. Between March and August of 2018, Robert served as a director of the business. 

Stuart Robert claims that Scott Morrison, who was the treasurer at the time, “instructed” him in August 2018 to sell all of his shares before becoming prime minister. In September 2018, Robert revoked his ownership in JM National Property Pty Ltd. Then, in October 2018, he claimed that a “blind trust” was in charge of all of his and his family’s investing choices. Whoever was in charge of the blind trust has never been revealed by Robert.

Additionally, John Margerison “represents Global Impact Inc. Australia.” John Margerison is a business owner, strategist, and consultant who has worked with numerous organizations related to the NDIS, information technology, capital markets/finance, banking, legal, funds management, and consultancy, according to Global Impact Inc. 

Matthew C. Freedman, the CEO of Global Impact Inc., was once employed by Paul Manafort, a convicted felon, and was a member of Donald Trump’s “transition team” in 2016. After utilizing an email address connected to his consulting company, Global Impact Inc., Freedman “was removed after conducting government business using that address.” 

Freedman was involved in planning the proposed trip throughout 2017, according to a 2018 New York Times article based on “emails released recently under the Freedom of Information Act to the Sierra Club” regarding the trip to Australia planned by climate science skeptic and former head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt. 

After Scott Morrison was elected prime minister in August 2018, Stuart Robert finally returned to the front benches. Freedman has also served as the American Australia Council’s (AAC) treasurer. The Australian Lobbyist Register does not list the AAC. Pruitt never made it on his intended vacation to Australia.

Despite Freedman functioning in a lobbying capacity, neither Global Impact Inc. nor Freedman are mentioned on the Australian lobbyist register:

Freedman is not a registered lobbyist, but according to a May 2018 New York Times report, he allegedly wrote the following in a 2017 email to the Sierra Club: 

I have spoken with the Minister in Australia directly, and on Monday night we will call with his senior employee (Cosi), who is the lead from their side.

Josh Frydenberg served as the environment minister of Australia in June 2017.

How did Mr. Freedman come to have “direct contact with the Minister” if neither he nor any organization with which he was affiliated were registered lobbyists?

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Freedman offered that Pruitt meet with then-Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in a different Sierra Club email, although he added:

Mr. Freedman put a restriction on the help he was giving: his involvement should not be made public.

At the time of the scheduled trip for Pruitt, it appears that Margerison and Robert were Mr. Freedman’s only connections to the Australian Federal Government.

Stuart Robert’s embarrassing private business trip to China led to his resignation in disgrace from the Turnbull Ministry in February 2016. When Freedman asserted in 2017 that he had access to the minister, he was sitting on the opposition benches.

“The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald have today reported that the Member for Fadden used his status as a Federal MP in 2017 and 2018 to help the lobbying and consulting firm Synergy 360,” NDIS Minister Bill Shorten said during Question Time on Thursday, November 24.  John Margerison, Robert’s “very good friend” and former chairman of the Fadden Forum, is a significant shareholder in Synergy 360. 

When Robert was specifically questioned about Synergy 360 and his role that evening on ABC’s Q&A, he asserted:

“Keep in mind that I was a backbencher, not a minister, and had no authority, responsibility, or purchasing power at all. A backbencher merely.

In spite of being “just a backbencher” at the time, Stuart Robert, the disgraced former assistant defense minister, may have used his position to push the federal government on behalf of his personal connections, according to emails made public as part of the Synergy 360 probe. 

Aspen Medical, the Gold Coast City Council’s “city-wide lighting replacement” project, and the Taiwanese corporation Formosa were specifically mentioned in reference to Townsville’s defense procurement. Additionally, according to the emails, Synergy 360 charged Unisys for “meetings arranged for Unisys Global CEO Peter Altabeff in Canberra – meetings confirmed with Hon Minister Dutton on 29 November 2017 and closed-door Committee Briefing 30 November 2017.” 

Peter Dutton, the leader of the opposition, was serving as minister of immigration and border protection at the time, and Robert was a backbencher. Both were and still are members of Queensland’s Liberal National Party’s (LNP) Liberal faction. Tom Tate, the mayor of the Gold Coast, has been a lifelong LNP supporter.

Robert vehemently refuted the claim that his “engagement with stakeholders”—who were close friends and business partners but weren’t registered lobbyists—had brought him any financial gain.

NDIS and Government Services Minister Bill Shorten has requested an investigation into the procurement procedures of the ministries he currently oversees as a result of the Synergy 360 emails’ release.

John Margerison: The Man Behind the Philanthropist Mask

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In recent years, John Margerison‘s name has been heard in a variety of contexts. Margerison appears to have made his imprint everywhere, from the finance industry to charities. But this story has two sides, just like every coin. As we go into the specifics of his life, the picture Margerison paints and the truth behind the scenes may diverge substantially.

An Overview

John Margerison began his career in the real estate industry before transitioning to the jewelry industry and ultimately exploring the financial markets. Many big firms have taken notice of his efforts in creating algorithms for automating trading choices. Despite his professional success, Margerison has been embroiled in a controversy involving his charitable work and connections to politicians.

Philanthropy or “Fake PR”?

John Margerison describes himself as a philanthropist, claiming that he has made significant donations to organizations fighting child sex trafficking, helped 41 individuals flee the atrocities of the war in Ukraine, and contributed to the provision of 1.5 million meals to the world’s poor. These assertions, which are publicly displayed on his website and in interviews posted on seemingly unrelated websites, have drawn criticism, nevertheless.

There have been allegations of “Fake PR” due to the use of websites like Crunchbase, AccessWire, and About. Me to promote his charitable endeavors. Critics contend that Margerison may be attempting to alter his public image to hide certain less pleasant aspects of his history, rather than practicing philanthropy.

Alleged Government Contracts Scandal

Margerison’s name has been associated with a scandal concerning suspected efforts to obtain contracts from the Australian Government in questionable ways. These claims, which connect John Margerison to former Liberal MP Stuart Robert, have been the subject of an investigation by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit (JCPAA).

The charges state that Margerison’s lobbying company, Synergy 360, suggested a structure that may have been profitable for Robert. According to information provided to the committee, this planned agreement would transfer a portion of Synergy 360’s stock to United Marketing, a company under Margerison’s control.

Margerison’s actions have simply fueled the flames despite Robert’s emphatic denial of these accusations, claiming that there is no proof to back them up. Margerison’s attorney notified the committee that his client had severed all links with Australia and now resided abroad at a time when he was scheduled to appear before a hearing regarding procurement at Services Australia and the National Disability Insurance Agency.

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Unanswered Questions

John Margerison may not officially fall under the purview of the Australian Parliament, but these accusations nonetheless cast a pall over his reputation. Margerison’s decision to live overseas rather than comply with a court order to appear in court and answer questions about his involvement in the affair raises more concerns about his moral character.

Margerison’s activities will also be closely examined because the committee has the authority to suggest referrals to other investigating bodies with more tools and authority. Many questions remain unanswered, as Government Services Minister Bill Shorten said, and it is Margerison’s responsibility to offer the solutions.

The ability to influence public opinion is getting easier and easier in this age of digital media. But the truth frequently comes to light with close examination and thorough research. It’s critical to delve deeper and challenge the story that is being told to us, as the case of John Margerison shows.

The story Margerison tells is that of a philanthropist and successful businessman. The unsolved issues and charges surrounding his actions, however, portray a different picture of a guy who may be seeking to manage his public image to conceal a less-than-savory history.

Although rebranding is not inherently bad, it is important to be honest and open to keep the public’s trust. Even when done under the pretext of charity, concealing the reality is wrong and does a disservice to the people who are impacted by people like Margerison.


The tragic tale of John Margerison serves as a warning that not everything that glitters is gold. Despite his seeming humanitarian persona, there may be a less enticing truth underneath. It’s critical to keep in mind the value of honesty, transparency, and integrity as we move forward in a world where digital media is taking over more and more of the conversation.

Is John Margerison a philanthropist or a criminal on the run?
Is John Margerison a philanthropist or a criminal on the run?

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