John Brogden (politician)

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John Brogden AM
Leader of the Opposition of New South Wales
In office
28 March 2002 – 1 September 2005
Preceded by Kerry Chikarovski
Succeeded by Peter Debnam
Member of the New South Wales Parliament
for Pittwater
In office
25 May 1996 – 28 September 2005
Preceded by Jim Longley
Succeeded by Alex McTaggart
Personal details
Born (1969-03-28) 28 March 1969 (age 45)
Sydney
Political party Liberal Party

John Gilbert Brogden AM (born 28 March 1969) is an Australian businessman and former politician. He is the CEO of the Financial Services Council, Chairman of Lifeline Australia, Chairman of UrbanGrowth NSW and Chairman of the Broken Bay Institute. He is also a director of NIA (trading as health.com.au).

He was Leader of the Opposition in New South Wales from 2002 to 2005. He was a Liberal Party member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from May 1996 until his resignation in August 2005, representing the electorate of Pittwater.

After politics he served as the CEO and chairperson of various organisations in the financial services sector. He is a leading advocate for suicide prevention.

Early life and family[edit]

Brogden was born in Balmain and raised in Sydney. His father Gilbert Arthur Brogden, a carpenter, was born in Taranaki, New Zealand in 1933 and emigrated to Australia in 1960. His mother Judith Anne Brogden (née Bourne), a secretary, was born in Balmain in 1941.[citation needed]

He was educated at St Joan of Arc, Haberfield, St Patrick's College, Strathfield and the University of Sydney where he gained a Master of Public Affairs (MPA).

He is married to Lucy Brogden, an Organisational Psychologist, Patron of Partners in Depression and Patron of the Sydney Women's Fund. They have three children, Flinders, Hugh and Trinity.[1][2]

Political career[edit]

John Brogden joined the Liberal Party in his final year of high school in 1986. Between 1989 and 1994 he was an adviser to Attorney General John Hannaford, Premier John Fahey and Police Minister Ted Pickering. From 1992 to 1993 he was President of the NSW Division of the Young Liberals, and a member of the NSW Division's state executive. In 1994, he served a year as Treasurer of the Young Liberal Movement of Australia. He rejoined state executive in 1995 elected as a Metropolitan Representative.

From 1994 to 1995 Brogden was a consultant at public affairs company Cosway Australia. From 1995 to 1996 he was a Senior Adviser at the credit union services corporation (CUSCAL).

Brogden was elected to the NSW Legislative Assembly as the Member for Pittwater in May 1996 in a by election following the resignation of former Fahey Government Minister Jim Longley. In 1999 he was promoted to the Shadow Ministry as the Shadow Minister for Urban Affairs and Planning, Sydney Water and Youth Affairs.

In the leadup to the 2003 election, Opposition Leader Kerry Chikarovski was struggling in the polls against Premier Bob Carr. On 25 March 2002, Brogden announced a challenge. Three days later on 28 March 2002,[3] he succeeded in a 15–14 vote, becoming the youngest ever leader of a state or federal Liberal Party.[citation needed] On becoming Opposition Leader, he resigned from his previous portfolios, but took on the new shadow ministries of Ethnic Affairs and Treasury.

At the 2003 election the Liberal won one seat from Labor and lost one to Labor. Over the next two years he improved his and the party's standing in the polls and at some stages in 2005 the Coalition was in front of Labor[citation needed], with many people believing that he would win the 2007 election, especially when Bob Carr resigned from politics and Morris Iemma was elected as the new Premier.[4]

After becoming party leader, he confronted the government over a number of issues, often focussing on health and police corruption. He aggressively pursued the Carr government over its involvement in the Orange Grove affair, in which a shopping centre was shut down, allegedly for zoning reasons, amidst claims of political pressure from The Westfield Group, which ran a neighbouring shopping centre. In October 2004, Westfield launched defamation action against Brogden as a result of comments he made about the affair.[citation needed]

Resignation[edit]

John Brogden came under fire for offensive behaviour at a function in Sydney on 29 July 2005. He allegedly described Helena Carr, the Malaysian-born wife of the then NSW Premier Bob Carr, as a "mail-order bride".[5] Fully, Brogden said Bob Carr could "ship his mail-order bride back to where she came from, for all I care". Brogden later publicly apologised for this remark.[6] He was also accused of unwelcome sexual advances to two unnamed female journalists at the same function (ABC's Lateline reported that he "propositioned" one journalist, and pinched another's buttocks).[5] Brogden alleged that Young Liberal Alex Hawke was responsible for leaking information to the media.[7]

As a consequence of the controversy, John Brogden resigned as Leader of the NSW Opposition on 29 August 2005, but announced his intention to remain as the Member for Pittwater.[8][9]

The next day, 30 August 2005, police attended Brogden's electorate office at around 10.30 pm, after concerns were raised by members of his family. They found him apparently unconscious in a back room, having slit his wrists, apparently in a drug and alcohol induced stupor.[10][11]

When the Sydney Morning Herald called Barry O'Farrell at about 11 pm to question him about possible leadership contention, he told them, "Excuse me if I say I don't care about the leadership at the moment, but I am following an ambulance with John Brogden inside. He has attempted self-harm. It sort of puts things in perspective, doesn't it?".[12][13]

Brogden was taken to Royal North Shore Hospital that night, and discharged the following day into respite care in a North Shore psychiatric facility. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Brogden's actions were a suicide attempt. On 1 September, Brogden and his wife issued a short statement thanking people who had sent messages of support, and inviting people wishing to help further to donate to beyondblue, an anti-depression organisation.[14]

Brogden resigned from politics on 28 September and a by-election was held for the seat of Pittwater, which was won by an independent candidate, Alex McTaggart.[15][16] At the 2007 state election McTaggert was defeated by Liberal candidate Dr Rob Stokes, a former adviser to Brogden.

Business career[edit]

Brogden was appointed as CEO of Manchester Unity, an Australian health fund, in July 2006 and served in that role until December 2008 when the company was sold to HCF Health Insurance.[citation needed] Between 2006 and 2009, he was the inaugural Independent Chairman of Abacus - Australian Mutuals, the newly established industry body for credit unions and building societies in Australia.

In July 2009, he was appointed as CEO of the Financial Services Council (formerly called the Investment & Financial Services Association), the representative body for Australia's superannuation, funds management, life insurance, financial advice networks and public and private trustees.[17]

From 2010 to 2012 he was a director of the Sydney Ports Corporation. In 2012 he was appointed Chairman of the NSW Government's land development corporation Landcom, which was renamed UrbanGrowth NSW in 2013. In 2011 he joined the board of start up health insurer NIA (health.com.au), the 2013 Testra Start Up Business of the Year.

In 2012 he joined the board of the Broken Bay Institute as Chairman.

In 2007, Brogden became the first Patron of Australia's telephone suicide counselling service Lifeline NSW.[18] In April 2011, he became National Patron for Lifeline.[19] In 2012 he was elected Chairman of Lifeline Australia.

John Brogden also holds honorary positions as the Patron of Sailability Pittwater, Bilgola Surf Lifesaving Club and Avalon Beach Surf Lifesaving Club and is the Chairman of Furlough House Retirement Village.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Politics in her genes a wife stands loyal". The Sydney Morning Herald. 1 September 2005. 
  2. ^ "Brogden: The book I never had". The Manly Daily. 9 September 2008. 
  3. ^ "Mr John Gilbert BROGDEN (born 1969)". Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  4. ^ "The challenge for John Brogden". The Sydney Morning Herald. 5 August 2005. 
  5. ^ a b "NSW politician quits after slur". BBC News. 29 August 2005. 
  6. ^ "'Ship her back for all I care', says Brogden". The New Zealand Herald. 31 August 2005. 
  7. ^ "Brogden's parting swipe at Lib enemy". The Sydney Morning Herald. 30 August 2005. 
  8. ^ "'Dishonourable' behaviour forces Brogden to quit". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 29 August 2005. 
  9. ^ "Brogden steps down over racist slur". The 7.30 Report. 29 August 2005. 
  10. ^ "Shattered Brogden's suicide bid". The Sydney Morning Herald. 31 August 2005. 
  11. ^ "Brogdens thank public for their support". The Sydney Morning Herald. 1 September 2005. 
  12. ^ "Leadership fight to be cliffhanger". The Sydney Morning Herald. 31 August 2005. 
  13. ^ "Brogden prepares for return to politics". The Sydney Morning Herald. 5 March 2006. 
  14. ^ "Shattered Brogden's suicide bid". The Sydney Morning Herald. 31 August 2005. 
  15. ^ "Pittwater Shock". Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 28 November 2005. Retrieved 27 January 2010. 
  16. ^ "Wipeout: party brawls begin". Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). 28 November 2005. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  17. ^ "John Brogden named as IFSA Chief". The Age. 14 July 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2009. 
  18. ^ "'My 10-year depression battle'". news.com.au. 1 May 2007. Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
  19. ^ Lifeline press release
  20. ^ "Speaker John Brogden Full Biography - Speakers Bureau @ ICMI". Icmi.com.au. Retrieved 2011-02-03. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Kerry Chikarovski
Leader of the Opposition of New South Wales
2002–05
Succeeded by
Peter Debnam
Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
Jim Longley
Member for Pittwater
1996–2005
Succeeded by
Alex McTaggart
Party political offices
Preceded by
Kerry Chikarovski
Leader of the New South Wales Liberal Party
2002–05
Succeeded by
Peter Debnam