Former minister for the defence industry Christopher Pyne (Image: AAP/David Mariuz)

When it was revealed last June that former defence minister Christopher Pyne had been appointed a "strategic adviser" to big four consulting firm Ernst & Young -- these days calling itself EY -- there was widespread outrage.

Pyne, who ended a long political career at last year's election, was to advise EY on lifting its defence contracts. "I am looking forward to providing strategic advice to EY as the firm looks to expand its footprint in the defence industry," he said at the time.

The former high-profile Liberal moderate was later at pains to assure people, via a glowing Australian profile, that he wasn't actually lobbying anyone on behalf of EY, just giving it advice.