Albanese: Coalition Must Reveal Ashby Involvement
Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said the Coalition must disclose its involvement in the James Ashby case. Ashby is a former aide of Speaker Peter Slipper who accused the man of sexually harassing him.
Albanese said that while he sympathises with anyone who might be a victim of sexual harassment, it appears that Mal Brough is using the case to seek Liberal pre-selection. He added that Brough is after Slipper’s seat in the parliament.
Brough is a former minister of the Howard government. He admitted that he has met Ashby at least three times this year and even advised him to get legal and police assistance weeks before Ashby filed the case against Slipper.
Brough said it was Ashby who sought him out for advice. The former minister said he cautioned Ashby and told him that should be absolutely sure of what he is accusing the Speaker of. He also advised the former aid to go to the AFP and get legal counsel.
Brough, however, denied that he spoke with any opposition MPs. He said he also never discussed the Slipper case to any LNP staff.
Slipper is being accused by his former aide for sexual misconduct. Ashby said Slipper hired him with the intention of pursuing a sexual relation with the 33-year-old aide.
Ashby also claimed that Slipper sent him SMS messages with the letter X, which is a text-speak for kisses.
Because of pressures from different sectors of the government, Slipper has resigned from his post as Speaker. He, however, continued to deny the allegations and said he hopes to be back in the May budget deliberations.