Tasmanian Liberal Adam Brooks resigns after damning Integrity Commission report

Updated February 11, 2019 15:50:00

Disgraced former Tasmanian mining minister Adam Brooks has resigned from Parliament, the State Government has confirmed.

Who is Adam Brooks?

  • Adam Brooks was born in Devonport in 1975
  • He was elected as a member for Braddon in 2010
  • Brooks is a former Royal Australian Navy electrician and mining industry consultant
  • He first stood down from the Tasmanian ministry in June 2016 over an email scandal
  • He has recognised “on reflection, there are matters I could have handled better”

The Member for Braddon’s decision to quit politics comes just months after a damning Integrity Commission report was tabled in Parliament.

During an Estimates Committee hearing in 2016, Mr Brooks denied he held an email address linked to his company Maintenance Systems Solutions (MSS), before later correcting the record.

The subsequent Integrity Commission report found he failed to tell Premier Will Hodgman or the crown solicitor who later carried out an audit of his business email account that he had double-deleted emails from the account.

The investigation also found that “Mr Brooks was motivated by a concern that the MSS emails had the potential to cause him political damage”.

Mr Brooks was referred to Parliament’s powerful Privileges Committee in late November, which was tasked with investigating whether Mr Brooks had breached privileges or the standing orders of the House of Assembly.

He was on leave from Parliament in its final weeks last year due to health reasons, and Parliament is not due to resume until next month.

Resignation ‘not a great surprise’

Mr Brooks was elected to State Parliament in 2010, and in the 2014 election he led the count in Braddon with more than 16,000 first-preference votes to help deliver the Liberal Party majority government.

Former Liberal MP Joan Rylah, who lost her seat at last year’s state election, is next in line to replace Mr Brooks.

At last year’s election, Mr Brooks received just over 10,000 first-preference votes at the election, with Ms Rylah receiving 3,436.

Political analyst Kevin Bonham said Mr Brooks’ resignation wasn’t a surprise, as there had been “rumours that it would happen”.

“[It’s] not a great surprise because Brooks’ path back to a ministry was clearly blocked, and there were rumours that he might go at some stage, for a long time,” Mr Bonham said.

Mr Bonham said the next two potential candidates based on a re-count would be Ms Rylah and Felix Ellis.

“They [the Electoral Commission] just do a re-count of those votes and making sure they have the right quota of votes,” Mr Bonham said.

“The primary vote doesn’t tell us anything because it’s based on the preferences of the people who got elected, but Joan Rylah was quite close to obtaining a seat in the battle with [Housing Minister] Roger Jaensch, and Felix Ellis was a respectable vote for a first attempt but he was nowhere near Joan Rylah’s vote,” he said.

Ms Rylah said she intended to nominate to fill the seat, saying she had unfinished business in Parliament.

“There couldn’t be a better time for me to come back into politics,” she said.

Ms Rylah would not be drawn on whether Mr Brooks should have resigned sooner.

“He has been in a tough spot. It has been difficult for him, but I acknowledge the work and the commitment to the Braddon community,” she said.

Premier Will Hodgman said Mr Brooks was a proud and passionate north-west-coaster who had always put his community first.

“I want to take the opportunity to thank Adam for his great work for the community he loves over many years,” Mr Hodgman said.

“He has been an exceptional local member, and has achieved a lot in his time in Parliament.

“People make mistakes. No-one’s perfect, certainly not in politics.

“He’s paid a price for what he’s done that hasn’t reached the standard that’s expected of him, but equally he can look back very positively on the significant contribution he’s made, particularly for the North West Coast.”

‘Affable, likeable, good-humoured’

Tasmanian Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said she wished Mr Brooks all the best, and recognised that he had endured significant personal and health struggles in recent times which had taken a heavy toll.

She said Mr Brooks, who previously campaigned for a return to recreational four-wheel-driving in the Tarkine wilderness, had “spoken up for his Braddon constituency and loyally defended his Liberal colleagues”.

However, Ms O’Connor added Mr Brook’s “constant attacks on the Greens and the wider conservation movement will not be missed”.

“On a personal level outside the chamber, I always found Mr Brooks to be affable, likeable and good humoured.”

Mr Brooks donated $50,000 to the Tasmanian Liberal Party in the 2017-18 financial year.

He did not immediately answer calls.

Topics: government-and-politics, state-parliament, states-and-territories, liberals, political-parties, hobart-7000, launceston-7250, devonport-7310, burnie-7320, tas

First posted February 11, 2019 11:00:08

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