Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Speaker, appropriately at the start of the fiftieth Parliament of Tasmania, the subject of the matter of public importance is integrity. It should not have to be so, but it is the case that we need to talk about integrity today because not just one but two elections have now gone by in Tasmania where there have been serious and serial concerns about the integrity in the manner which elections have been conducted, in the funding of elections, and now, in the people who have stood for election. It is incredibly important that Tasmanians can expect their representatives to uphold the standards of the community at a minimum, which would be that people who stand for public office abide by the law of Tasmania, that they do not lie, that they have a reputation for respect and for fair and proper dealings in people during their conduct if they were to succeed to be in public office.
What we had at the last election and what the Greens were so concerned about was the Liberal Party’s preselection of Mr Adam Brooks for the seat of Braddon and their continued adhering to him as a candidate throughout the campaign, despite the fact that evidence came into the public domain that not only had he lied to parliament three times previously, lied to an Integrity Commission investigation and lied to the premier of the day, but he was also blatantly disregarding the law of Tasmania and, as we subsequently found out, the laws of Queensland as well.
On top of that, the real concern for women in Tasmania was that the Liberal Party had preselected a man who had continued his lying to lure women into relationships with him, a process called catfishing, using fake identities to lie to women about who he was. The obvious reason that Mr Brooks had to resort to doing that was because he was widely across the internet for having been an acknowledged and committed liar in parliament. He lied three times to parliament, was found to have done so, was also found to have lied to the Integrity Commission in the process of the investigation and also was found to have lied to the Premier.
All of that stuff was on the internet and Mr Brooks clearly wanted to catfish women, multiple women, as we have found out. Two women came forward during the election campaign and presented their very sad stories of being lied to by Mr Brooks and the Premier chose not to believe them.
This is the other matter of integrity that the Greens have been so concerned about and the reason that we wrote to the Integrity Commission. When did the Premier know that Mr Brooks had charges of explosives and an unauthorised use of a category H weapon and multiple fake licences in Queensland? When did the Premier know that Mr Brooks had charges of firearms ammunition being incorrectly stored in Tasmania and when did Mr Gutwein know, as Premier, that the person standing for the Liberals in Braddon had been lying to women and catfishing them about his true identity? We know the answer to some of these questions. It was pretty clear that the Premier, like everybody else, knew on 8 April that Mr Brooks had been charged with firearms ammunition incorrect storage in Tasmania, and he also knew two weeks before the election that two women had accused him of using fake identifies to lure them into relationships.
His response was very concerning and it was the sort of response we do not expect from a Premier who has committed himself, as he did during the Greens’ matter of public importance on rape culture, to listening to women and to hearing them, so when a female ABC reporter confronted the Premier with the evidence of Mr Brooks' catfishing, he accused her of dishonesty and of 'tricking up documents'. In effect, he accused Ms Baker of falsifying the story before him. Even after public CCTV footage was made available of Mr Brooks tricking a woman into a relationship, the Premier also chose to disregard that footage. He chose to believe the man and disbelieve the women.
The Premier said that Mr Brooks was emphatic in his denials of the allegations against him, the Premier had conversations with Mr Brooks but because Mr Brooks said, 'I didn’t do it', the Premier chose to believe him. Despite the women coming forward with their stories, despite the CCTV footage, despite the photos of 'Terry' Brooks' fake Victorian licence, the Premier chose to believe the man who was a recorded serial liar over two women and the evidence of material documents that were made available to him.
What is wrong with this story? Why are women in Tasmania really concerned that the Premier would have acted like that? Why should we not expect the Premier to make an apology to women in Tasmania for his appalling leadership throughout the election campaign?