Tasmanian Labor wants answers on whether two dating profiles belong to a high-profile Liberal state election candidate, or whether his identity has been hijacked.
In the latest twist in a chaotic campaign, screenshots show dating profiles using the photo of Braddon candidate Adam Brooks under the handles “Gav” and “trb44eng”.
Asked whether the accounts were linked to Mr Brooks, or whether his identity had been hijacked, a Tasmanian Liberal Party spokesman said Mr Brooks “categorically denied this”.
The ABC has repeatedly asked for clarification on what Mr Brooks denied.
While it is not uncommon for people to use different handles on dating profiles, including for privacy reasons, Labor campaign spokeswoman Sarah Lovell said politicians should clarify such questions put to them when asked — especially given the amount of fake profiles on dating websites.
“Adam Brooks needs to explain whether online dating profiles under other [handles] using photos which appear to be of him are linked to Adam Brooks or if he is being impersonated,” Ms Lovell said.
Addressing media last Thursday, when asked whether Mr Brooks was being impersonated or otherwise, Liberal leader Peter Gutwein said: “Mr Brooks has denied those claims, and importantly the electorate of Braddon will make the decision in terms of whether or not Mr Brooks returns to Parliament.”
Mr Brooks, a popular north-west Tasmanian businessman, sat in the state’s parliament from 2010 to 2019.
He was promoted to the Cabinet in 2016 but stood down in June the same year, after facing scrutiny over the use of a private email address linked to one of his businesses, Maintenance Systems Solutions (MSS).
Questioned on the matter in a parliamentary scrutiny hearing, Mr Brooks repeatedly denied he was using the email address. He later corrected the record but Labor referred the matter to the Integrity Commission.
In 2018, the Integrity Commission found Mr Brooks continued to be involved in the operation and management of MSS while a minister but did not have a “material conflict of interest”.
“However, the investigation concluded that Mr Brooks gave inaccurate written assurances to the premier [Will Hodgman] about his compliance with the [ministerial] protocol, and failed to advise the premier of the true nature of his involvement with MSS, when the Premier was relying on Mr Brooks’ advice and updates,” the Integrity Commission found.
It also found he “accessed, collated, forwarded and then deleted” a number of MSS emails the night he was questioned on the use of his business email address in Parliament.
Mr Brooks has long denied any wrongdoing in the matter and, resigning in 2019, maintained his innocence.
In announcing his return to politics this year, he told The Advocate newspaper “it was very, very clear I was cleared”.
Police have confirmed he will be summonsed to court on allegations he had not correctly stored ammunition — something Mr Brooks has said he will “vigorously defend”.
Mr Brooks is the Tasmanian Liberal Party’s Treasurer and donated $50,000 to the party ahead of the 2018 state election.
He won more than 16,000 first preference votes in 2014, helping the party win majority government, and more than 10,000 in 2018.