Former Newman MP’s suicide shock as new love revealed
Former Newman Government police minister David Gibson has revealed how he was driven towards suicide by an internecine plot within his own party to oust him from politics.
The retired politician has spoken for the first time about how a new life in West Australia and blossoming relationship with a transgender partner have helped him find happiness and tackle the mental demons that still haunt him from his time in public life.
"Five years out of politics I still have mental health issues," he told The Sunday Mail in an exclusive interview.
"What I went through resulted in suicidal ideations.
"What people did to me I still have to manage as part of my mental health.
"That being said I have found an amazing guy and I am really, really happy."
The 53-year-old father of five suffered a tumultuous final term representing the conservative seat of Gympie after being sacked as police minister in 2012 within days of being sworn in after it emerged he had unpaid fines for speeding and driving unlicensed.
Two years later Mr Gibson suffered a nervous breakdown and was forced to take a break as LNP figures pushed for his political scalp after revealing he'd been found guilty of theft in a Canberra court in 1999 while serving in the army.
A talented frontbencher who joined the push to recruit Campbell Newman into state politics and touted himself as a potential future LNP leader, Mr Gibson quit politics after serving three terms at the 2015 election.
"The mental issues that I faced were brought about by bullying and it pushed me to the point of suicidal ideations," he said.
"That was a particularly difficult time for me."
Mr Gibson said he and his new partner, Tarmon Smith, 30, a sleep scientist and budding musician, spoke in depth before going public on social media about their relationship.
"We talked about it before we put the post up," he said.
"And we did that because we wanted to celebrate that we are in a relationship and really happy with each other.
"We don't want to live our lives in the shadows. Is it any different to anybody who posts about their relationship? No."
Mr Gibson said his partner was well aware of the circumstances that led to the collapse of his political career and mental health issues.
"Like any relationship you share your background," he said.
"Mine's very public, I don't tend to hide much because it's one Google search away.
"But he's an amazing guy and for the record he's a trans guy."
Mr Gibson, who was a devout Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), said there would be "pathetic individuals" who would be appalled but no side of politics had moral authority over issues of sexuality.
"I've had members and former MPs on my Facebook send me private messages saying 'congratulations, you look so happy'," he said.
"I am not condemning the party at all because there was and probably still is some really good people in the party.
"But there are some pathetic individuals who need to take a long hard look at themselves."
Mr Gibson said during his time in Parliament Labor had demonstrated rank hypocrisy by advocating for same sex civil unions while at the same time banning gay couples from adopting.
"I don't think any side of politics holds the high moral ground in this space at all," he said.
"It's not about sides of politics, let's be clear. It's about pathetic individuals and pathetic individuals sit on all sides of politics."
Mr Gibson stressed that his mental health issues stemmed from the professional stress he endured and were in no way related to his sexuality.
"My ex and I are amazingly best friends, she texted me to say congratulations," he said.
"I've identified as bisexual from the age of 15.
"What I am is incredibly loyal and I am in a relationship now with Tarmon and I think he's an amazing guy.
"I was in a marriage with Alicia and I think she's an amazing woman. It's not that I wasn't happy before."
The son of deaf parents and the first Australian MP to have their maiden speech simultaneously signed by an AUSLAN interpreter, Mr Gibson was until recently the chief executive of Access Plus WA Deaf.
However, he insisted he had no interest in ever re-entering the political arena.
"I have no desire to be in politics," Mr Gibson said.
"But I am an interested observer from afar, that's for sure."
Originally published as Former Newman MP's suicide shock as new love revealed