Ashby tells: 'Brough was Jackie, Slipper was Trevor'

Former Peter Slipper staffer James Ashby on Channel Nine's 60 Minutes
Former Peter Slipper staffer James Ashby on Channel Nine's 60 Minutes

MAL Brough was Jackie, Peter Slipper was Trevor and James Ashby was confused.

In an excerpt from Mr Ashby's "tell-all" interview with 60 Minutes reporter Liz Hayes on Sunday night, Mr Slipper's former advisor describes using codenames for the two Sunshine Coast politicians.

The two-minute clip was not included in the Sunday night broadcast.


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Federal Court documents released during Mr Ashby's sexual harassment suit against Mr Slipper included text messages sent to and from fellow staffer Karen Doane that referred to "Jackie".

"I received a phone message when I'd come back from across the road at the shopping centre one day that said to contact Jackie," Mr Ashby said.

"I rang the number - it didn't register with me who it was - and a woman answered the phone.

"I said, 'Hi, is Jackie there?'

"She said, 'I'll put him on'.

"Before I knew it, Mal Brough picked up the phone."

Watch part of the interview with 60 Minutes below:


Mr Ashby said he and Ms Doane continued referring to Mr Brough as "Jackie" because it was "ridiculous in the first place, so we ran with that ridiculous theme".

"It was the same way that Peter always told me not to call him by his name when we caught cabs," he said.

"I would catch a cab with Peter and if I ever did, I would have to sit in the front of the cab, he would always sit behind the driver."

Ms Hayes told Mr Ashby there was obviously a lot of paranoia in politics.

"He was a strange man," Mr Ashby replied.


EARLIER: Brough admits he asked Ashby to copy Slipper's diary

SUNSHINE Coast member for Fisher and former Howard-era minister Mal Brough has conceded that he asked Peter Slipper's former staffer James Ashby to procure copies of Mr Slipper's diary.

It is the latest revelation in a 60 Minutes "special report" with journalist Liz Hayes interviewing Mr Slipper's former advisor James Ashby.

LNP member for Fisher Mal Brough
LNP member for Fisher Mal Brough Iain Curry

In the interview, Mr Brough admits he asked Mr Ashby to distribute copies of Mr Slipper's diary because he "believed Peter Slipper had committed a crime".

Mr Slipper has since been found guilty by a Canberra court for misusing taxpayer-funded CabCharge vouchers.

"I believed he was defrauding the Commonwealth," Mr Brough said.

"And the courts have actually now proven that to be the case."

In speaking with Ms Hayes, Mr Brough refused to say whether or not he discussed Mr Ashby's case with senior members of the Abbott Government.

Mr Brough said he had been open and honest about his involvement, but would not say yes or no to specific questions on what information he shared with colleagues.

Mr Ashby became Mr Slipper's adviser following the Fisher MP's departure from the Coalition.

Mr Slipper went on to become a cross bencher and parliamentary speaker for the minority Gillard Government.

Mr Ashby made allegations that now-Education Minister Christopher Pyne knew of his case, something Mr Pyne has always denied.

As the Speaker's advisor, Mr Ashby was earning $160,000 per year.  


EARLIER: James Ashby claims sexual advances from Peter Slipper

FORMER Peter Slipper staffer James Ashby has taken to national television to accuse his former boss of sexual harassment.

In an interview on Channel Nine with journalist Liz Hayes on 60 Minutes, Mr Ashby has told of lurid and sexual text messages sent from the former Speaker.

In one conversation, Mr Ashby who is gay, is asked by Peter Slipper whether he prefers 'twinks or bears'.

The lingo is code inside the gay community for hairier, bigger men (bears), or youthful, smooth guys (twinks).

Most of the detail of the allegations against Mr Slipper formed part of Mr Ashby's legal battles against the Sunshine Coast MP.

Mr Ashby is expected to detail his dealings with a variety of current Coalition MPs before he pursued legal action.

He is understood to have met with Queensland Energy Minister Mark McArdle -- who told him to find a new job -- followed by Longman MP Wyatt Roy and later, Education Minister Christopher Pyne and current Fisher MP Mal Brough.

On Sunday, News Limited publications reported that Coalition MP Mal Brough, who took Mr Slipper's seat of Fisher in the 2013 poll, helped find a lawyer for Mr Ashby.

What Australians thought of the 60 Minutes report on Twitter:

There is little love lost between Mr Ashby and Mr Slipper.

Mr Ashby accused the former House of Representatives Speaker of sexual harassment shortly after resigning his position as the Speaker's adviser.

The legal allegations and Mr Slipper's denials were plastered on newspaper front pages across the country.

Mr Slipper's departure from the Coalition to the Speaker's chair as a cross-bencher helped protect the minority Gillard Government.

The court battle threatened to bring down Mr Slipper and by extension, the government as a whole.

The revelations followed years of forensic investigation into the embattled MP's travel entitlements by the Sunshine Coast Daily.

READ MORE:  Why we pursued the Peter Slipper story

As the case progressed, documents supplied to the Federal Court also revealed a string of lewd and bizarre text messages between the pair.

The seemingly salacious communications once again created national headlines.

The Federal Court dismissed the case, describing Mr Ashby's claim as a "political attack" against Mr Slipper.

In 2014, the full bench of the court ruled it should go ahead.

Mr Ashby dropped the case -- he was alleging sexual harassment and breach of contract -- in mid-June, just weeks before it was to be heard.

While Mr Slipper's legal costs were paid for out of the government purse, Mr Ashby was liable for his own fees.

"This has been an intense and emotionally draining time for me and my family, taking its toll on us all," Mr Ashby said in a statement at the time.

"One of the key reasons I started this action was to stop Peter Slipper's behaviour. I am confident this has been achieved."

At the time, Mr Slipper told how the legal wrangling had caused him personal stress "which has required ongoing psychiatric and psychological treatment and many weeks of inpatient hospital care".

"My mental illness is both ongoing and debilitating."

"The impact of these allegations on me personally and everyone close to me is both is immeasurable and irreparable.

"That the allegations have been withdrawn is vindication for myself, my wife and my family."

Later that same month, Mr Ashby began court proceedings against the Commonwealth to have his court costs paid.

In an unrelated matter, Mr Slipper faced a Canberra court earlier this year accused of misusing $1000 in Cabcharge vouchers so he could tour Canberra's wine regions.

He was found guilty and is to be sentenced later this month.

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