John Brogden (politician)

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John Brogden
John Brogden office Sydney.jpg
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 47)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Political party Liberal Party
Spouse(s) Lucy Brogden
Children 3
Religion Roman Catholic

John Gilbert Brogden AM (born 28 March 1969) is an Australian businessman and former politician. He was appointed the Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) in January 2015. Brogden is Chairman of Lifeline Australia, Chairman of UrbanGrowth NSW, and Chairman of the Broken Bay Institute. He is also Chairman of Furlough House Retirement Village

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.[citation needed]

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 (née Bourne), was a secretary. 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).[citation needed]

His wife Lucy is an organisational psychologist, Patron of Partners in Depression, Patron of the Sydney Women's Fund, Commissioner of the National Mental Health Commission and Governor of Queenwood School for Girls. They have three children.[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 the State Executive in 1995 elected as a Metropolitan Representative.[citation needed]

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).[citation needed]

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. Notwithstanding the electoral defeat, Brogden improved his and the party's standing in the polls over the next two years. For part of 2005 the Coalition was in front of Labor[citation needed], with many people believing that Brogden would win the 2007 election, especially when Bob Carr resigned from politics and Morris Iemma was elected as the new Premier.[4]

Meanwhile, Brogden 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.

Despite the improvement in the opposition's opinion-poll ratings during 2004 and early 2005, Brogden's hopes that he would gain the premiership in 2007 were not to be fulfilled. He came under fire for offensive behaviour at a function in Sydney on 29 July 2005. At this function, he was quoted by the media as having described Helena Carr, the Premier's Malaysian-born wife, as a "mail-order bride".[5] More specifically, Brogden said 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 Alex Hawke (a future Liberal member of the federal parliament) was responsible for leaking information to the media.[7]

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

The next day, 30 August, 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 Liberal frontbencher 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 at a nearby 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]

It was on 28 September that Brogden left the legislature. A by-election was held for the seat of Pittwater, and this was won by an independent candidate, Alex McTaggart.[15][16] At the 2007 state election McTaggert was defeated by Liberal candidate Robert Gordon Stokes, a former adviser to Brogden.

Business career[edit]

Since 2015, Brogden has been the MD & CEO at the AICD. He is currently the Chairman of UrbanGrowth NSW, the Broken Bay Institute and Lifeline Australia and has served in the roles since 2012. Brogden also currently serves as Chairman of Furlough House Retirement Village, a role which he has held since 2011.

Prior to his role with the AICD, Brogden served as CEO of the Financial Services Council from 2009 to 2015 and as CEO of Manchester Unity from 2006 to 2008.

Brogden was a Director of NIA Ltd from 2011 until 2015, a Director of the Sydney Ports Corporation from 2010 to 2012 and an Independent Chairman of Abacus - Australia Mutuals from 2006 to 2009.

John Brogden also holds honorary positions as the Patron of Kookaburra Kids, Sailability Pittwater, Bilgola Surf Lifesaving Club and Avalon Beach Surf Lifesaving Club.


  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. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  14. ^ "Shattered Brogden's suicide bid". The Sydney Morning Herald. 31 August 2005. Retrieved 2 December 2014. 
  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. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Kerry Chikarovski
Leader of the Opposition of New South Wales
Succeeded by
Peter Debnam
Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
Jim Longley
Member for Pittwater
Succeeded by
Alex McTaggart
Party political offices
Preceded by
Kerry Chikarovski
Leader of the New South Wales Liberal Party
Succeeded by
Peter Debnam