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New South Wales Liberal leader attempts suicide

Friday, September 2, 2005

Australian New South Wales Liberal Party leader John Brogden was found to have attempted suicide in his electoral office late on the night of August 30, after he resigned due to heavy media criticism of comments he had made against the previous Government premier Bob Carr‘s wife, Helena Carr. Mr Brogden called her a “mail-order bride”.

He was rushed to a North Shore hospital. Carr, who originally had stated he did not accept Brogden’s earlier apology, later capitulated, stating that his wife had asked to forgive him.

It was also argued whether The Daily Telegraph newspaper, which was aiming to release new allegations of sexual harassment after Brogden had resigned, played any part in the suicide attempt. Many in the community, such as Rod Tiffen of the University of Sydney, on ABC Radio National’s The Media Report had decried tabloid journalism and the Telegraph for “only wait[ing] till the man’s down before they start kicking” with allegations that were found to be unsourced, whilst the editor of the Telegraph, David Penberthy, claimed that they were only acting in their duty to publish what they had discovered, and said that “to say that [Brogden’s attempt] is our fault off the basis of one story is I think, just fatuous.”

One political editor, Andrew West, for The Australian, a publication produced by the same company that owns The Daily Telegraph, resigned over the placement of his byline on a story where he said he only produced a memo noting the unreliability of the sources for a similar story that the Telegraph were to publish.

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