Australia Integrity Commission unable to probe Gutwein handling of Liberal candidate Adam Brooks
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Tasmania's integrity watchdog says it is unable to investigate how the Premier handled allegations against a former Liberal candidate who resigned facing criminal charges in another state, because the case falls outside its jurisdiction.
The Greens referred Peter Gutwein to the Integrity Commission last month, arguing he had not properly responded to claims against Braddon candidate Adam Brooks.
Mr Brooks — a former mining minister — facedthat he had tricked women he was dating into believing he was an engineer named Terry.
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Secoriea Turner was shot in the parking lot of a Wendy's restaurant in Atlanta last July while protests for the police killing of Rayshard Brooks were going on throughout the city. Shots were fired at the car Turner was riding in, fatally hitting her. Brooks was shot and killed by Atlanta police in the same Wendy's parking lot a month before in June 2020. The lawsuit filed with the Fulton County State Court names Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Police Chief Rodney Bryant, City Councilmember Joyce Sheperd and Wendy's International.
Mr Brooks denied the allegations and was declared elected to the Tasmanian parliament on May 13.
Early on May 14,after Queensland Police raided an apartment near Brisbane and charged him with possession of a handgun, unauthorised explosives and false driver's licences.
Mr Brooks appeared in a Queensland court on Thursday, where he faced six new charges. He is yet to enter a plea on any of the charges but has previously indicated he would defend them.
Also on Thursday, Greens leader Cassy O'Connor received a letter from Integrity Commission chief executive Michael Easton saying her referral was outside the body's jurisdiction because misconduct allegations against Mr Gutwein fell within the election period.
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"The impact of the (parliament's) dissolution is that sitting members no longer hold their seats in parliament; they cease to be MPs and are no longer public officers," Mr Easton said.
"We acknowledge that government ministers retain their ministerial role during the election period, and remain subject to the Ministerial Code of Conduct.
"However, given we only have jurisdiction over ministers due to their status as MPs, I can confirm that we do not have jurisdiction over ministers (including the Premier) during the election period."
When asked by the ABC to respond to the commission's letter, Mr Gutwein said in a statement:
"That's a matter for the Integrity Commission, but as I've consistently said I have been open with the Tasmanian people at every step during this process."
Bid to close 'loophole'
Ms O'Connor said there were still questions surrounding Mr Brooks's election.
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"This is not a dismissal based on no evidence of wrongdoing," Ms O'Connor said.
"Tasmanians are still asking the questions about the circumstances surrounding Mr Brooks's candidacy and his resignation, and when the Premier knew and the Premier's responses."
Ms O'Connor said her party had drafted amendments to close what she described as a loophole in the laws surrounding the Integrity Commission.
"This has exposed a significant flaw in the law, because there's a very strong argument that during an election campaign there are perhaps greater opportunities for misconduct and corruption," she said.
Speaking at a press conference in May, Mr Gutwein said he did not know of the criminal charges facing Mr Brooks until the evening of May 13.
He said at the time he was "happy to withstand any scrutiny on this matter".
Mr Brooks, a generous Liberal Party donor and traditionally high vote-winner, sat in Tasmania's parliament between 2010 and 2019.
Early in the 2021 state election campaign, Tasmania Police confirmed
Mr Brooks also denied any wrongdoing on that allegation.
Video: Liberals 'should be ashamed' over Andrews questioning (Sky News Australia)
Sold out AFL match in Tasmania shows state's thirst for good fixtures .
Tasmanian football fans have sent a clear message to AFL House: Build it and we will come.Sunday's relocated grudge match between arch rivals Hawthorn and Essendon at York Park in Launceston sold out less than two hours after tickets went on sale yesterday.