No excuses on Adam Brooks audit: Scott Bacon

There is no apparent end in sight to the Adam Brooks email saga as the state election ticks closer.

Premier Will Hodgman and Braddon Liberal MHA Adam Brooks. Picture: Cordell Richardson.

Premier Will Hodgman and Braddon Liberal MHA Adam Brooks. Picture: Cordell Richardson.

An audit of an email account crucial to whether the Braddon Liberal MHA will be able to return to the  ministry remains on hold 16 months after Premier Will Hodgman ordered it.

Every day which passes makes it more likely Mr Brooks will face voters without them knowing whether the former resources minister will be able to return to the ministry.

The government has blamed the delay of the audit on matters relating to Mr Brooks’ divorce, and then on matters relating to a settlement.

The divorce was finalised some time ago.

Mr Brooks has been barred from the ministry since June 2016, awaiting the audit of the email account with a mining services company.

The audit was ordered  after Mr Brooks gave incorrect answers in an estimates hearing about the account,   before correcting himself.

On Friday, Mr Hodgman said the government wanted the matter resolved as soon as possible, but Mr Brooks’ personal circumstances were hindering the conclusion and progress of the audit.

Mr Hodgman said the divorce had concluded, but there were “outstanding matters with respect to Mr Brooks and his former wife which are a matter for them to resolve”.

Shadow Treasurer Scott Bacon said Mr Hodgman had no choice but to act.

“It's been more than 16 months since the Premier announced an audit into the former minister's business email account would be conducted,” Mr Bacon said.

“This saga has dragged on for too long and it needs to be dealt with prior to the election.”

Mr Bacon said there was nothing stopping the government from conducting the audit.

"Official documents show that Mr Brooks' divorce is finalised and his former wife is not a director of his mining company,” Mr Bacon said.

"No one wants to read the former minister's personal emails.

“The audit is to understand whether Mr Brooks had an active role in a major mining business while serving as Tasmania's mining minister.”

Last year, Mr Hodgman said Mr Brooks’ answers “contributed to the perception of a conflict of interest”.

Mr Brooks has said there was no actual conflict of interest.

This story ‘No Brooks audit excuses’ first appeared on The Advocate.