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Labor Pursues Brough Over Role In Slipper-Ashby Case

The federal government has targeted the Liberal National Party candidate for Fisher, Mal Brough, after today’s Federal Court decision in the James Ashby-Peter Slipper sexual harassment case.

Nicola Roxon

In a range of media appearances this afternoon, the Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, the Trade Minister, Craig Emerson, and the Education Minister, Peter Garrett, have called for Brough to stand down over his role in the case. [Read more…]

Brandis Accuses Roxon Of Inappropriate Behaviour

The shadow Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, says Nicola Roxon is behaving inappropriately over the Ashby-Slipper case.

Under attack from government spokespeople for his role in the matter, Brandis issued a brief statement after the Federal Court decision was announced today.

Media statement from Senator George Brandis.

Senator the Hon George Brandis SC – Media Statement


The Opposition is carefully studying the reasons given by Justice Rares this morning.

We note that Mr Ashby has already announced he will appeal the decision.

The Attorney-General has once again behaved inappropriately, and once again shown a misunderstanding of her appropriate constitutional role, in commenting on the case when it remains before the court pending the appeal.

The Attorney-General has also yet to explain why the Commonwealth settled its side of the proceeding in breach of the Commonwealth’s own guidelines.

Ashby’s Lawyers Say There Was No Conspiracy In Slipper Case

James Ashby’s lawyers say they are “shocked and disappointed” by the Federal Court decision in Ashby’s sexual harassment claim against the former Speaker, Peter Slipper.

Michael Harmer of Harmers Workplace Lawyers says: “We will argue strongly on appeal that the conclusions in his Honour’s judgment made about our conduct of the case are simply not justified by the evidence. Neither myself, nor this firm, are part of any conspiracy.”

Harmer said: “Politics played absolutely no role in the decision to take on James as a client.”

Text of statement from Harmers Workplace Lawyers.

Statement by Harmers Workplace Lawyers

Wednesday 12 Dec. 2012

“Whilst of course we respect the court’s decision, we are shocked and disappointed by it. We will argue strongly on appeal that the conclusions in his Honour’s judgment made about our conduct of the case are simply not justified by the evidence. Neither myself, nor this firm, are part of any conspiracy. [Read more…]

James Ashby Says He Will Appeal Slipper Judgment

James Ashby, the man who levelled allegations of sexual harassment at former Speaker Peter Slipper, says he will appeal a Federal Court decision that dismissed the case as an abuse of process.

James Ashby

Ashby spoke briefly to media waiting outside the Federal Court this morning. He was said he was “extremely disappointed” with the decision and said it had been a “harrowing time” over the past eight months. [Read more…]

Abuse Of Process: Peter Slipper Sexual Harassment Case Thrown Out By Federal Court

The sexual harassment case brought by James Ashby against Peter Slipper has been thrown out as an abuse of process by a Federal Court judge.

In a scathing judgment, Mr. Justice Rares found against Ashby and ordered him to pay costs in the case brought against Slipper when he was Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Ashby immediately announced that he would appeal the decision.

  • Download the Federal Court judgment: PDF or Word

Full text of the Federal Court decision in Ashby v the Commonwealth and Peter Slipper.


Ashby v Commonwealth of Australia (No 4)
[2012] FCA 1411

Citation: Ashby v Commonwealth of Australia (No 4) [2012] FCA 1411


File number: NSD 580 of 2012

Judge: RARES J

Date of judgment: 12 December 2012

Catchwords: PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – dismissal or stay – application for proceedings to be dismissed or stayed as an abuse of process pursuant to r 26.01(1) of the Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth) – categories of abuse of process not closed – where allegations allegedly made in pleading for predominant purpose of a political attack to advance maker’s own interests – where some allegations made that were irrelevant, scandalous or calculated to injure – where applicant’s lawyer responsible for impugned allegations – where applicant and lawyer intended or aware that media would obtain a copy of pleading and publish allegations made in it [Read more…]

Peter Slipper’s Statement To Parliament

House of Representatives Speaker Peter Slipper briefly presided over the chamber at 2pm today.

Slipper read a short statement that asserted his innocence of charges levelled at him, proclaimed his belief in the presumption of innocence, and decried trial by media.

Slipper then handed over to Deputy Speaker Anna Burke and left the House.

It was most likely Slipper’s last appearance as Speaker. [Read more…]

The Federal Court Discrimination Claim Against Slipper

This is James Ashby’s application to the Federal Court under the Fair Work Act alleging discrimination.

The application was lodged on April 20. It cites two respondents, the Commonwealth of Australia and Peter Slipper.

James Ashby's application to the Federal Court