Percy Brookfield in 1915
|Member of the New South Wales Parliament
3 February 1917 – 22 March 1921
Serving with Mat Davidson (1920-1921)
Brian Doe (1920-1921)
|Preceded by||John Cann|
|Succeeded by||Jabez Wright|
|Born||Percival Stanley Brookfield
7 August 1875
|Died||22 March 1921
Adelaide, South Australia
|Resting place||Broken Hill Cemetery|
|Political party||Australian Labor Party|
|Industrial Socialist Labor Party|
Percival Stanley Brookfield (7 August 1875 – 22 March 1921) was an Australian politician and militant trade unionist. He was variously known as Percival Jack Brookfield or Jack Brookfield, a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1917 until his violent death in 1921. In parliament he was a member of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) until July 1919 and then joined the Industrial Socialist Labor Party.
Brookfield was born in Wavertree, Lancashire, England, the son of a local grocer Cuthbert Brookfield and Jane Brookfield (née Peers) and after an elementary education went to sea at age 13. After spending about 6 years at sea working on various merchant ships, at his request he was discharged from his service on the vessel "Godiva", with an endorsement of good conduct, in Port Melbourne in 1894. He was a swagman and prospector in New South Wales and Queensland but had settled in Broken Hill by 1910. He became an official of the Amalgamated Miners' Association and led the Broken Hill campaign against the introduction of conscription. He was gaoled and reportedly fined ₤700 as a result of his anti-conscription activities.
In February 1917 he won ALP pre-selection for a by-election in the seat of Sturt. The by-election had been caused by the resignation of the previous member John Cann who had accepted the position of Railways Commissioner. Brookfield won the seat with 54% of the primary vote and increased this to 57% at the general election that was held one month later. In parliament he became a leading left-wing advocate and expressed sympathy for the Industrial Workers of the World and the Bolshevik Revolution. His radicalism led him into conflict with the rest of the ALP caucus and he resigned from it in July 1919. He was not readmitted to the party when he attempted to retract his resignation.
Industrial Socialist Labor Party
At the March 1920 state elections Brookfield contested the seat of Sturt for the Industrial Socialist Labor Party and, under the multi-member proportional representation system then used, he was the first candidate elected with 27% of the primary vote. Following the election he held the balance of power in the assembly. He supported the Labor government of John Storey and used his position to improve industrial conditions for Broken Hill miners and to overturn the convictions of Australian IWW members gaoled in 1916.
Brookfield died as a result of wounds received when trying to disarm a deranged Russian emigree named Koorman Tomayoff at the Riverton railway station, in South Australia on 22 March 1921. It has been claimed that Brookfield was the only Australian politician murdered prior to the death of John Newman in 1994—although another member of the Legislative Assembly, Thomas John Ley probably murdered fellow member Hyman Goldstein in 1927. There is no evidence of a political motive in Brookfield's death.
- Antony Green. "NSW Elections Analysis". New South Wales Parliament. Retrieved 12 January 2009.
- "Brookfield, Percival Stanley (1875-1921)". Former members of the New South Wales Parliament, 1856-2006. New South Wales Parliament. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 2009-01-11.
- "Brookfield, Percival Stanley (1875-1921)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. University of Melbourne Press. 1979. Retrieved 12 January 2009.
- "Russian Runs Amok". The Advertiser. Advertiser Newspapers, Adelaide. 23 March 1921. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
|Parliament of New South Wales|
|Member for Sturt