Mal Brough

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Mal Brough
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Fisher
In office
7 September 2013 – 9 May 2016
Preceded byPeter Slipper
Succeeded byAndrew Wallace
Minister for Defence Materiel and Science
In office
21 September 2015 – 29 December 2015
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Preceded byStuart Robert
Succeeded byMarise Payne
Special Minister of State
In office
21 September 2015 – 29 December 2015
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Preceded byMichael Ronaldson
Succeeded byMathias Cormann
Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
In office
27 January 2006 – 3 December 2007
Prime MinisterJohn Howard
Preceded byKay Patterson
Succeeded byJenny Macklin
Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer
In office
18 July 2004 – 27 January 2006
Prime MinisterJohn Howard
Preceded byHelen Coonan
Succeeded byPeter Dutton
Minister for Employment Participation
In office
14 February 2001 – 18 July 2004
Prime MinisterJohn Howard
Preceded byTony Abbott
Succeeded byFran Bailey
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Longman
In office
2 March 1996 – 24 November 2007
Preceded byConstituency Created
Succeeded byJon Sullivan
Personal details
Malcolm Thomas Brough

(1961-12-29) 29 December 1961 (age 57)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Political partyLiberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s)Sue Brough
RelationsRob Brough (brother)
Alma materMonash University
Military service
Branch/serviceAustralian Army
Years of service1979–1987

Malcolm Thomas Brough (/ˈbrʌf/ BRUF; born 29 December 1961) is a former Australian politician who was the Liberal National member for the Division of Fisher in the Australian House of Representatives. Brough was the member for the Division of Longman from the 1996 election to his defeat at the 2007 election. He was re-elected at the 2013 federal election as the member for the Division of Fisher. He held various positions in John Howard's second, third, and fourth ministries, and sat in cabinet as Minister for Families and Community Services and Indigenous Affairs from 2006 to 2007. In this role, he conducted the controversial Northern Territory Emergency Response. From Brisbane, Brough was a member of the Liberal Party, and briefly served as president of the party's Queensland Division in 2008, until he resigned following its merger with the Queensland Division of the National Party. He later joined the new Liberal National Party.

Brough served briefly in the First Turnbull Ministry until he stood aside in December 2015 and resigned from the Ministry in February 2016 after it was revealed that the Australian Federal Police had investigated him over his alleged involvement in the James Ashby affair.[1]

On 26 February 2016 Brough announced that he would not seek preselection for the seat of Fisher at the 2016 federal election.[2]

Early life[edit]

He was born on 29 December 1961 in Brisbane, Queensland, and was an Australian Army officer and businessman before entering politics. His brother, Rob Brough, is a Seven News presenter and former host of Family Feud.

Brough has Indigenous Australian ancestry through his maternal grandmother Violet Bowden, whose father was Aboriginal.[3] His sister, Carol Stubbs, has served on the board of several Aboriginal corporations.[4]

Political career[edit]

Brough was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business 2000–01 and Minister for Employment Services from 2001 to 2004. In July 2004 he was moved to the portfolios of Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Revenue. He was Minister for Families and Community Services and Indigenous Affairs from January 2006 to November 2007. In his Indigenous Affairs portfolio, Brough was the chief architect of the government's Northern Territory Emergency Response, a package of measures designed to combat alleged high rates of child neglect and abuse in the territory.

Brough was one of a number of government MPs including John Howard who lost their seats at the 2007 election. Brough suffered a swing of 10.3 points in the two-party-preferred vote in his seat, to finish with a vote of 46.4 percent. He was succeeded by Labor's Jon Sullivan.[5][6] Brough switched to the seat of Fisher and won it back from Liberal turned independent and the Speaker of the House of Representatives Peter Slipper at the 2013 federal election.

State politics[edit]

Brough was elected as the President of the Queensland division of the Liberal Party in May 2008.[7] He remained in that position after a vote in July 2008 to merge into the new Liberal National Party of Queensland (LNP). He opposed the merger as it had not received final ratification from the federal Liberal Party. On 26 September 2008 he resigned from his post, saying: "You try and do the right thing and, quite frankly, at this point it's all over the shop and it's no wonder voters get so disenchanted with the non-Labor side of politics."[8]

It was because of his opposition of the merger to the LNP that he was not a candidate for his former seat of Longman at the 2010 federal election. That would have meant securing preselection from the LNP in order to have a good chance of reclaiming the seat. He also criticised the party leading up to the 2010 election on its absence of policies, but he did not rule out running for his resident seat of Fisher against Peter Slipper, a National party member who had joined the Liberals.[9]

Federal politics and diary allegations[edit]

In 2006, Brough was the Minister for Families and Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. Faced with allegations regarding the degradation of Aboriginal communities and frequent cases of child sexual abuse, Brough, combined with the Northern Territory Chief Minister Clare Martin, commissioned a report into child sexual abuse in the Northern Territory. This report received much criticism, beginning with the view that it was a hasty reaction to these allegations. Researchers have suggested that the report was not simply used as an opportunity to resolve these issues, but rather as another way to control these communities.[10]

In mid-2012, following the defection of Peter Slipper from the Liberals to become an independent MP and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Brough announced that he was seeking LNP preselection for the seat of Fisher for the 2013 federal election.[11] On 29 July 2012, it was announced that had won the preselection for the seat,[12] despite criticism over his contact with James Ashby. Ashby had been an adviser to Slipper who had made accusation of sexual harassment. Justice Steve Rares found that Brough had acted with Ashby and another Slipper staffer, Karen Doane, in abusing the judicial process for the "purpose of causing significant public, reputational and political damage to Mr Slipper".[13] On 9 October 2012, Slipper resigned as Speaker following revelations of mobile phone text messages he had sent to Ashby. In an early 2014 appeal ruling the full bench of the Federal Court found that Justice Rares had 'no basis to conclude that Brough was part of any combination with anyone in respect to the commencement of these proceedings with the predominant purpose of damaging Slipper in the way alleged or at all,' and that there was 'nothing untoward about those matters'.[14][15]

On 29 December 2015 Brough stood down from the Turnbull Ministry and moved to the backbench pending the completion of an investigation by the Australian Federal Police over the alleged copying of the diary of former speaker Peter Slipper. Jamie Briggs also resigned on the same day. Questions were raised over the holiday timing of the announcements.[16][17][18][19]

On 13 February 2016, Brough resigned from the Ministry.[1] On 26 February he announced that he would not recontest the seat of Fisher,[20] concluding that it was "a privilege and an honour" to represent the electorate.[21]


  1. ^ a b Massola, James (13 February 2016). "Cabinet reshuffle: Malcolm Turnbull announces new frontbench as Mal Brough resigns". The Age. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  2. ^ "Mal Brough quits federal parliament". Sky News.
  3. ^ "Don't know for sure, no real way of ascertaining it" - Brough in "In the eye of the storm". The Sydney Morning Herald. 30 June 2007.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "QLD Division Results - Longman". 2007 Election Tally Room. Australian Electoral Commission. 29 November 2007. Retrieved 30 November 2007.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 September 2013. Retrieved 10 September 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Qld conservatives plan fresh merger talks". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 1 June 2008. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
  8. ^ "Brough quits Liberal presidency". The Brisbane Times. 26 September 2008. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
  9. ^ Dennehy, Kate (22 June 2010). "LNP has no idea, says Brough". The Brisbane Times. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  10. ^ Roffee, James A (1 March 2016). "Rhetoric, Aboriginal Australians and the Northern Territory Intervention: A Socio-legal Investigation into Pre-legislative Argumentation". International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy. 5 (1): 131. doi:10.5204/ijcjsd.v5i1.285. ISSN 2202-8005.
  11. ^ "Brough to learn if he'll win preselection". 2 August 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  12. ^ Parnell, Sean (29 July 2012). "Mal Brough's plan for federal comeback passes a key hurdle, with LNP preselection for Fisher". The Australian. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  13. ^ Ireland, Judith (28 February 2013). "AFP suspends Mal Brough conspiracy prober". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  14. ^ Mccutcheon, John (1 March 2014). "Ruling clears Brough in Ashby affair". Sunshine Coast Daily. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  15. ^ The majority judgment of the Full Federal Court stated that there was insufficient evidence to support the finding of Rares J at trial: Ashby v Slipper [2014] FCAFC 15 at [120]-[122] per Mansfield and Gilmour JJ.
  16. ^ Han, Misa (30 December 2015). "After work drinks 101: lessons for Jamie Briggs (and other bosses)". The Australian Financial Review.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ Anderson, Stephanie (29 December 2015). "Timeline: Mal Brough under fire". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  19. ^ Cox, Lisa (2 December 2015). "Why is Mal Brough in trouble?". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  20. ^ Anderson, Stephanie (26 February 2016). "Mal Brough will not recontest Fisher seat at next election". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  21. ^ "Mal Brough Press Release". Mal Brough Website. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 7 March 2016.

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
New division Member for Longman
Succeeded by
Jon Sullivan
Preceded by
Peter Slipper
Member for Fisher
Succeeded by
Andrew Wallace
Political offices
Preceded by
Tony Abbott
Minister for Employment Services
Succeeded by
Fran Bailey
Preceded by
Helen Coonan
Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer
Succeeded by
Peter Dutton
Preceded by
Kay Patterson
Minister for Families and Community
Services and Indigenous Affairs

Succeeded by
Jenny Macklin
Preceded by
Michael Ronaldson
Special Minister of State
Succeeded by
Mathias Cormann
Preceded by
Stuart Robert
Minister for Defence Materiel and Science
Succeeded by
Marise Payne
as acting