The Peter Slipper / James Ashby sexual harassment case is set down for further hearing on the interlocutory applications on the 2nd October 2012. The main application is by the government to have the matter thrown out for abuse of process. At this rate it will still be bubbling away and fresh in people’s minds at the next federal election due some time late next year.
It is time to have a look at some of the players, where they stand and what their possible game plans are. One of the elements that has not been mentioned in this case is that the barrister representing the government tweeted on twitter last year that Tony Abbott is a pedophile so I thought we would start off with that.
Julian Burnside, QC
Mr Burnside tweeted the below on the 3oth of September last year:
Paedos is slang for pedophile and the Speedos part is in reference to Mr Abbott who known for wearing speedos. The Australian reported at the time: “The Opposition Leader, renowned for wearing Speedos during ocean swimming events, declined to comment on the Twitter remark, but media lawyers said Mr Burnside’s comment could be seen to be defamatory.” (Click here to read the full article)
James Ashby has been accused recently of having sex with two 15-year-old boys when he was in his mid twenties which makes him a pedophile if true. It will make interesting times to say the least to have Julian Burnside cross-examining Mr Ashby if it gets to final hearing.
I find it amazing that the Labor government would use Mr Burnside given the political nature of the case and if Mr Burnside had any self-respect he should not have taken the brief. One would have thought that any barrister that had referred to any politician as a pedophile would not have been given any further government work. Obviously Mr Burnside back peddled and apologised but I think the apology is hollow and he should not have tweeted that in the first place.
I thought I would start off with Mr Burnside because what is special about him and his actions in this matter is absolutely nothing. All parties concerned have acted in a very grubby manner. I think this is brilliant because it shows corruption right across the board for all the public to see.
Peter Slipper who is a federal politician and speaker of the parliament has been sued by one of his staff members, James Ashby, for sexual harassment. The government has also been sued by Mr Ashby.
Peter Slipper was formerly a member of the Liberal Party and opposition. He was enticed by the Labor Party to resign from the liberal party and take up the speakers job. The Labor Party only held government by one vote with the support of 3 independents and 1 member of The Greens Party. Mr Slippers defection gave them a 2 seat majority although one of the independents retracted his support not long after.
James Ashby colluded with a number of people before he instituted his proceedings. This included Mal Brough who is a former Liberal Party federal politician and has now been preselected for the Liberals in the Queensland seat of Fisher which is currently held by Peter Slipper. For those new to the story the following link gives a fairly good background with some of the evidence. (Click here to read)
The Liberals are in a lot of trouble. Even more so now that Mal Brough has been preselected as a Liberal candidate for the next election. The court case I expect, with appeals, will still be going in some shape or form up until the next federal election.
Mr Brough has clearly been caught out lying about his involvement and the Labor Party will play this for everything it is worth. Tony Abbott will have his hands full trying to defend Mal Brough given there is no real defence given the evidence. They have been badly let down by the fools who preselected Mal Brough. They should have wiped there hands of him. Maybe he knows too much and could have taken others down with him so they have to protect him. But that is why it is the own goal of the year. All they had to do was shut their mouths until the next election. But some people cannot help themselves as they morally and ethically bankrupt.
Mal Brough has lied about his involvement right from the start. It was reported: “Originally Mr Brough described his knowledge of the case against Mr Slipper as nonsense. Then he admitted to having three meetings to advise Mr Ashby and subsequently, court documents detail at least another two text messages, two emails and two phone calls.”
And: Mr Brough said yesterday Mr Ashby sent him three pages of Mr Slipper’s diary.
”He sent them to me because in the course of our first conversation he alleged criminal behaviour,” he said, adding he was curious to understand ”how anybody can spend over $1000 a day in cab fares supposedly doing parliamentary business but not tell us what it’s about”.
Mr Brough claimed yesterday he never asked for those extracts but in one text message exchange after Mr Ashby sent copies of the extracts, Mr Brough replies: ”Can that be emailed James it is hard to read.” (Click here to read the full article)
Based on the above Mal Brough will not survive as the candidate until the next election. One has to wonder if what he has done is a criminal offence. I suspect it would be.
Given Mr Ashby sent copies of pages of Mr Slippers diary to Mal Brough, Mr Ashby is in clear breach of Crimes Act 1914, s70 (i) Disclosure of information by Commonwealth officers
(1) A person who, being a Commonwealth officer, publishes or communicates, except to some person to whom he or she is authorized to publish or communicate it, any fact or document which comes to his or her knowledge, or into his or her possession, by virtue of being a Commonwealth officer, and which it is his or her duty not to disclose, shall be guilty of an offence.This carries a 2 year jail term. The whistle-blower Allan Kessing was charged and found guilty in 2007 under the same section,s70) for leaking reports about airport security failures. (Click here to read about Kessing) If it also turns out to be true that Ashby had sex with under age boys he is in lot more trouble than just two years jail.
Mr Ashby would have to be giving serious consideration to withdrawing his case. But he is caught between a rock and a hard place. If he withdraws the Liberal support will drop off immediately and then he will have to deal with the police. By continuing with his case he will keep the support of the Liberals and when they win at the next election, as the polls say they will, then the squeeze will be put on the Federal Police to drop any investigation into him.
He has form on the board for ripping off the tax payer and has previously had to repay tens of thousands of dollars. (Click here to read) His career is over at the next election. What has come out says he has been cheating or trying to cheat on his wife with another man so voters are not going to vote for him.
Justice Steven Rares
At first I thought he would protect Labor and Slipper but Rares is a Liberal appointment and it will interesting to see if he tries to pull a swifty to help the Liberals. Everyone has plenty of dirt on Rares because he is as corrupt as they come so he can not afford to upset the Labor Party or they might go after him in desperation. Although neither party in general go after corrupt judges. I wrote a post on him a few months ago titled ” Peter Slipper strikes it lucky and lands corrupt federal court judge Steven Rares to hear his sexual harassment case.” (Click here to read the post)
Labor have undermined their own cause and interfered in the judicial process with their public statements. The Australian reported “Attempts by Peter Slipper and ministers to label the behaviour of James Ashby part of a criminal conspiracy have backfired.”
“A federal court judge has said because of the claims, he can no longer force Mr Ashby to file a response to allegations of abuse of process for fear of incriminating himself.” (Click here to read more)
If Labor had shut their mouths that would have put Mr Ashby in a very difficult position and it would have been to the governments advantage.
Other than that for the Labor Party it is a dream come true. It will still not be enough to stop them losing the next election but it could possibly be worth a percentage point or two and might save a few seats. They will try to drag out proceedings right up until the next election to keep it in voters minds.
It really depends on who is leader at the next election. If Gillard is still leader it will not help them much at all as no one listens to her anyhow. But if Rudd is brought back as leader he will sell the issue like there is no tomorrow and even though a lot of people do not like him, including me, it must be acknowledged he is the best salesman in parliament at least on the Labor side.
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