Jamie Briggs

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The Honourable
Jamie Briggs
Jamie Briggs.jpg
Minister for Cities and the Built Environment
In office
18 September 2013 – 29 December 2015
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded by Sharon Bird (as Minister for Regional Development and Minister for Road Safety)
Succeeded by Paul Fletcher
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Mayo
In office
6 September 2008 – 2 July 2016
Preceded by Alexander Downer
Succeeded by Rebekha Sharkie
Personal details
Born (1977-06-09) 9 June 1977 (age 39)
Kyneton, Victoria
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s) Estée[1]
Children Three[1]
Occupation Politician
Website jamiebriggs.com.au

Jamie Edward Briggs (born 9 June 1977) is a former Australian politician, who represented the House of Representatives seat of Mayo for the Liberal Party of Australia from the 2008 Mayo by-election to the 2 July 2016 federal election. Briggs was promoted from a shadow parliamentary secretary role to the outer ministry upon the 2013 election of the Abbott Government. He remained in the outer ministry though with a change in portfolio upon the ascension of the Turnbull Government, however he quit the ministry and moved to the backbench in late 2015 following inappropriate conduct during an official overseas trip. Briggs lost his seat in the 2016 federal election to Nick Xenophon Team candidate Rebekha Sharkie.[2]

Background[edit]

Briggs grew up in the River Murray town of Mildura, where his father was a local bank teller and his mother volunteered in the canteen at the Sacred Heart Catholic primary school.[3] He attended St Joseph's College where he excelled in cricket before moving to Adelaide to pursue his dreams of playing for Australia. Briggs became a member of the Liberal Party in 1999 and was on the Liberal Party State Council from 2000 to 2002. He was an employment relations adviser for Business SA from 2000 to 2002. In 2002, he started working for the then South Australian Treasurer, Rob Lucas, before moving to Canberra in 2003 to work for Kevin Andrews in the Howard Government. From 2004 to 2007 he was a senior advisor for WorkChoices to the Prime Minister, John Howard.[4][5]

Political career[edit]

Briggs was pre-selected as the Liberal Party of Australia candidate for the 2008 Mayo by-election to replace former Liberal leader and minister Alexander Downer. In the absence of a Labor candidate, Briggs won the seat with a reduced 53.03 percent two-candidate vote against the Greens, in comparison to the 2007 election with a 57.1 percent two-party vote against Labor. The Liberal two-party vote was increased to 57.4 percent at the 2010 election and to 62.5 percent at the 2013 election.

After the 2010 election Briggs was given the position of chair of the Coalition's Scrutiny of Government Waste Committee as part of the opposition led by Tony Abbott.[6] In September 2012, Briggs was appointed to the Opposition frontbench as the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Supporting Families.[7] As part of his role as the Chairman of the Coalition's Scrutiny of Government Committee, Briggs wrote The Little Book of Big Labor Waste with the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, and the Shadow Treasurer, Joe Hockey. It was published on 13 May 2013.[8] Briggs has also pursued the Gillard Government over a Freedom of Information decision to refuse access to Greens policy costings.[9]

Ministry promotion and resignation[edit]

After the 2013 election of the Abbott Government, Briggs, an Abbott loyalist, was promoted from a shadow parliamentary secretary position to the outer ministry as Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development.[10]

Briggs was on crutches with an injured leg after a failed crash tackle attempt on Abbott at a boisterous late-night party in Abbott's office on the night he was deposed as Prime Minister in September 2015. Briggs repeatedly insisted for the next two months that he damaged his ACL while jogging the following morning and was not involved in shattering an expensive Italian marble table. The damage to the table was expected to be at the taxpayer's expense, though Abbott later said he would pay for it.[10][11]

Briggs' portfolio in the outer ministry was changed to Minister for Cities and the Built Environment on 20 September 2015 in the incoming Turnbull Government. Turnbull initially dumped Briggs from the ministry, but when Bruce Billson declined to remain, Briggs was reinstated.[12][13]

Following a late-night incident involving Briggs and a female DFAT staffer in a Hong Kong bar during an official visit in November,[14] Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull asked Briggs to "consider his position", with Briggs subsequently quitting the First Turnbull Ministry and moving to the backbench on 29 December 2015. Briggs claimed his behaviour had not met the "particularly high standards required of ministers", after the public servant raised concerns about his "behaviour towards her at the venue". Briggs stated that nothing illegal had occurred.[10][15] Briggs would not be drawn on the specifics of the incident,[16] however later the same day, according to The Australian Financial Review, "government sources" claimed Briggs was accused of sexual harassment,[17] and then according to The Advertiser, "It is understood Mr Briggs told her she had piercing eyes, then later put his arm around her. As the trio was leaving, Mr Briggs gave the female public servant a kiss on the cheek", while other reports suggested the kiss was on the neck.[10] Briggs' wife and former Liberal staffer Estée responded hours later on Facebook by posting a family picture of the two along with their three young children, and reportedly said the scandal was a "complete exaggeration and over-reaction".[1][18] Questions were raised over the "unusually long time" between the complaint and the resignation as well as the holiday timing of the announcement,[14] with Turnbull becoming aware of the incident on 5 December.[12] Briggs announced that he intended to re-contest the Liberal seat of Mayo at the 2016 federal election and to one day return to the ministry.[15] Following the announcement of his resignation, and despite claiming that he would not identify her, Briggs distributed a photograph of the complainant to some colleagues. The photograph later appeared in the national newspaper, along with sufficient detail to identify her.

Just minutes after Briggs' press conference, Mal Brough also stood aside from the First Turnbull Ministry due to an investigation by the Australian Federal Police over the alleged copying of the diary of former speaker Peter Slipper. A ministerial re-shuffle occurred.[11]

Briggs backed calls from two state Liberal parliamentarians in April 2016 in support of seal culling in South Australia after witnessing a "massacre" of dozens of fairy penguins on Kangaroo Island.[19]

2016 election[edit]

Briggs was beaten at the 2016 federal election by his former staffer Rebekha Sharkie, who successfully contested Mayo for the Nick Xenophon Team.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Briggs is married to former Liberal staffer Estée Fiebiger and has three children. He lives in Aldgate, South Australia.[1][3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Starick, Paul (30 December 2015). "Ousted federal minister Jamie Briggs' wife Estee posts Facebook picture standing by him and family". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 
  2. ^ "Mayo - Australia Votes | Federal Election 2016 (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". ABC News. Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  3. ^ a b "About Jamie: Biography". JamieBriggs.com.au. Jamie Briggs. Archived from the original on 29 November 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  4. ^ "The Hon Jamie Briggs MP". Senators and Members. Parliament of Australia. 
  5. ^ "Mayo pick revives WorkChoices". ABC News. Australia. 21 July 2008. 
  6. ^ "A strong and stable team for Australia's future" (Press release). Liberal Party of Australia. 14 September 2010. Archived from the original on 17 September 2010. 
  7. ^ Abbott, Tony (19 September 2012). "Appointments to the Coalition team" (Press release). Liberal Party of Australia. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  8. ^ "Tony Abbott launches The Little Book of Big Labor Waste on Federal Budget eve". news.com.au. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  9. ^ Franklin, Matthew (26 July 2012). "Labor buries Greens costings as Joel Fitzgibbon opposes Treasury secrecy". The Australian. Retrieved 19 September 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c d Starick, Paul (29 December 2015). "South Australian Liberal Jamie Briggs quits as Cities and Built Environment Minister in Malcolm Turnbull Government". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 
  11. ^ a b Keany, Francis (29 December 2015). "Mal Brough, Jamie Briggs stand down from front bench roles; reshuffle on the cards for PM Malcolm Turnbull". ABC News. Australia. 
  12. ^ a b Meers, Daniel; Benson, Simon (30 December 2015). "Jamie Briggs and Mal Brough: Frontbench upheaval as Liberal ministers resign". news.com.au. 
  13. ^ Knott, Matthew (30 December 2015). "Jamie Briggs, an ambitious MP who overstepped the mark". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  14. ^ a b Han, Misa (30 December 2015). "After work drinks 101: lessons for Jamie Briggs (and other bosses)". The Australian Financial Review. 
  15. ^ a b Bourke, Latika (29 December 2015). "Minister Jamie Briggs quits Malcolm Turnbull's government after 'incident' abroad". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 3 January 2016. Retrieved 29 December 2015. 
  16. ^ Coletta, Frank (29 December 2015). "'It was an error of professional judgement': Cities and Built Environment Minister Jamie Briggs resigns after female public servant complains about his 'inappropriate behaviour' at a Hong Kong bar". Daily Mail. Australia. 
  17. ^ Riordan, Primrose (29 December 2015). "Jamie Briggs, Mal Brough resign from the Turnbull ministry". The Australian Financial Review. 
  18. ^ Meers, Daniel (30 December 2015). "Jamie Briggs' wife Estee stands by her man: Says his forced resignation an 'over-reaction'". Daily Telegraph. Australia. 
  19. ^ Williams, Tim (2016-04-03). "Federal MP Jamie Briggs joins call for seal cull after witnessing 'massacre' of fairy penguins". The Advertiser. Retrieved 2016-04-03. 
  20. ^ "Brash, aggressive Jamie Briggs won't be missed". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 29 December 2015. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Alexander Downer
Member for Mayo
2008–2016
Succeeded by
Rebekha Sharkie
Political offices
Preceded by
Sharon Bird
as Minister for Regional Development and Minister for Road Safety
Assistant Minister for Infrastructure
and Regional Development

2013–2015
Succeeded by
himself
as Minister for Cities and the Built Environment
New title Minister for Cities and the Built Environment
2015
Succeeded by
to be determined