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Superintendent Writes

Sunday, 2nd October, 2005

The week the former Opposition leader, John Brogden, resigned as a member of Parliament from a bed in a psychiatric hospital. He should not have done so. I have spent my life telling people not to make important decisions while they are sick, or distressed or depressed. The four-sentence resignation letter, stating he would be undergoing treatment “for some time”, completed a stunning and tragic fall from grace. Only a few weeks ago his chances of becoming the state’s youngest premier soared with the resignation of Bob Carr. But his behaviour on July 29 at the Sydney Hilton’s Marble Bar — where he, fuelled by alcohol, pinched one journalist’s bottom, propositioned another and referred to Helena Carr as a “mail-order bride” destroyed his career in a moment. Mr Brogden’s resignation as the member for Pittwater, after his apparent suicide attempt in his Mona Vale electorate office, surprised colleagues, who thought he would tough it out and rebuild his political career.

He had been readmitted to the Northside Clinic in Greenwich with profound depression. Mr. Brogden’s resignation letter was apologetic. “I have personal and health issues to address and I am undergoing treatment that may continue for some time,” he wrote. “I apologize that this will incur the inconvenience and cost of a by-election. I regret any distress my actions have caused and I take full responsibility for my actions.” He is a young man who said and did stupid things. But they were not “hanging offences.” He should have taken time to fully recover, and then spent time with a counsellor reassessing his future. He is young enough to recover, and continue to use his abilities for the public good.

Meanwhile, Wesley Mission continues to operate two hospitals for the mentally ill, for people suffering from depression and other illness, and employ hundreds of people from psychiatrists, nurses, psychologists, counsellors, chaplains and others who help people like John Brogden get well. His story is a very sad one, and one we at Wesley Mission help people avoid. Please pray for our work with hundreds of people like John. For most, the result is excellent. But when someone (like John) makes wrong decisions, we are all sad, even when (as in John’s case) his treatment was somewhere other than a Wesley Mission facility.


This is Gordon Moyes.

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