Sunshine Coast MP Peter Slipper made claims against Mal Brough, Joe Hockey
Sunshine Coast MP Peter Slipper made claims against Mal Brough, Joe Hockey Warren Lynam

Slipper makes claims against Mal Brough, Joe Hockey

SUNSHINE Coast MP Peter Slipper claims that Mal Brough and Joe Hockey had requested he pay the legal fees of the man who brought a sexual harassment case against him.

Mr Slipper used his final speech in the House of Representatives to call for a royal commission into the circumstances surrounding the sexual harassment case against him.

The independent Member for Fisher is yet to decide whether he will stand at the election against Liberal National Party candidate Mal Brough, and so delivered what he described as a "precautionary" valedictory speech.

In April last year staffer James Ashby sued Mr Slipper for sexual harassment. The case was thrown out of the Federal Court but is subject to an appeal.

During his speech Mr Slipper recalled a "very interesting" conversation he had with Clive Palmer during breakfast at his Coolum resort last year.

"And I do recall that Mr Palmer mentioned to me at that time that about Easter last year Mr Brough accompanied by the Member for North Sydney (Joe Hockey) came to see Mr Palmer asking him to fund James Ashby's legal fees with respect to the litigation most people ... would be aware of," Mr Slipper said.

"The former attorney-general, Ms Roxon ... mentioned the possibility of an Ashbygate royal commission. I have spoken to other senior ministers in the government who understand that matter is under active consideration.

"And I would hope that the government moves to see the involvement of members of the opposition, in particular, in what has resulted in a situation where there was an attempt not only to bring down ... the speaker of the Australian Parliament but also to bring down the government of this nation."

Mr Hockey later rejected Mr Slipper's claim.

"That is patently untrue, I have never met Mr Ashby, the matter was never raised in the cup of coffee that I had with Mr Palmer which has been widely reported," Mr Hockey told the ABC.

"The matter was never raised in relation to that entire affair."

Mr Slipper also told the story of how he used to sign up "foot soldiers" to the Liberal Party in Fisher in the event he needed support in any pre-selection battle.

One of those recruits was Mr Brough.

"We signed him up into the then Liberal Party. He sought endorsement and I supported him for Longman where he served for a period," he said.

"And of course I suppose in a sense I am responsible for my own predicament."

Mr Slipper also used his speech to thank his staff, friends and family, adding the past year had not been "the best events" in their lives.

"One of the unfortunate things ... is the surname Slipper is so uncommon. So if you happen to have that as a surname people automatically assume as association," he said.

A spokesman for Mr Palmer  confirmed with Fairfax Media that Mr Palmer met with Mr Brough and Mr Hockey and that during the meal the matter of funding Mr Ashby's legal defence was raised.

Mr Palmer's spokesman said the billionaire rejected the approach.

However, APN has since been advised that Mr Palmer's spokesman only confirmed the meeting.

Mr Brough has declined to comment to Fairfax media.


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