Tasmanian Greens and independents want external probe into allegations against Liberal candidate for Braddon, Adam Brooks – ABC News

Posted: May 16, 2021 at 12:54 pm

There are growing calls for an investigation into the Liberal Party's and Premier Peter Gutwein's handling of allegations surrounding Braddon candidate Adam Brooks, with the Tasmanian Greens confirming they would refer the matter to the state's integrity commission.

Just an hour before declaring the polls on Friday, Mr Gutwein announced Mr Brooks would not take up his seat in the state's house of assembly after being charged by Queensland police with being in possession of a handgun, unauthorised explosives and false driver's licences.

Mr Brooks is in Queensland, where he has been bailed to appear in court after he was visitedby police on Wednesday.

He has said he will seek legal advice and would defend himself against the charges, and is seeking mental health treatment.

Mr Brooks had also been facing allegations that he misled two women he dated online, which he has denied.

Last month, Tasmania Police said theyintended to charge Mr Brooks with an ammunition storage offence, an allegation he will also defend.

ABC News: Luke Bowden

Greens leader Cassy O'Connor said her party would refer the Adam Brooks case to the Integrity Commission for investigation.

"Exactly what was known about Mr Brooks' alleged conduct ahead of, during, and in the days after the election needs to be investigated," Ms O'Connor said.

"There are very real concerns about whether he was a fit and proper person to be standing for Parliament. What did the Premier know and when?

"Tasmanian voters did not have the full picture on Election Day. They still don't today."

ABC News: Laura Beavis

Labor's Michelle O'Byrne said it was an 'appalling fiasco' that must be externally investigated.

"Peter Gutwein must come clean and explain exactly what he knew about the allegations and when he first found out and why he chooses to believe Mr Brooks," Ms O'Byrne said.

"This goes straight to the credibility and nature of Peter Gutwein as leader. He has shown that he is prepared to accept anything to use Adam Brooks his money and his votes to win government."

Independent Nelson MLC Meg Webb said the Liberal Party and Mr Gutwein were "squarely in the hotseat" over the handling of the matter.

"Either their preselection processes are so inadequate that blatant red flags were missed, or they were fully aware of the existing issues associated with Mr Brooks and put him forward as an endorsed Liberal candidate anyway to garner electoral advantage," Ms Webbsaid.

"Incompetence or cynical political self-interest which was it?

"It's all very well to say it was up to the voters of Braddon to make an assessment of Mr Brooks, but it was his preselection by the Liberal Party that put the voters in that position.

"Is the Premier telling Tasmanians that when it comes to future Liberal party endorsed candidates it's a case of 'buyer beware'? That's simply not good enough."

Independent Murchison MLC Ruth Forrest, whose electorate covers much of the Braddon area, said Mr Gutwein needed to explain what he knew about the allegations and what inquiries he made into them during the campaign.

Ms Forrest said the Premier needed to implement a process to ensure a similar situation did not occur in future.

She said the likely delay in the return to parliament, caused by the need for a recount to fill Mr Brooks' seat, would further push back much-needed scrutiny of the government, as well as the work of important parliamentary committees that have been put on pause.

When asked for a response, one of the Premier's advisors pointed to comments made on Friday morning, in which Mr Gutweinsaid that he was first made aware of the Queensland charges by Mr Brooks in a phone call on Thursday evening.

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Tasmanian Greens and independents want external probe into allegations against Liberal candidate for Braddon, Adam Brooks - ABC News

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