News

Abbott 'too busy' to read damning Mal Brough judgment

Mal Brough
Mal Brough Warren Lynam

FEDERAL Opposition leader Tony Abbott says he has been 'too busy' to read a damning court judgment which criticises the role of Mal Brough in the Peter Slipper affair.

Speaking on ABC radio from London a week after the judgment was handed down, Mr Abbott again backed Mr Brough for the Sunshine Coast seat of Fisher despite the findings of the court.

Mr Abbott said he was 'confident he (Mr Brough) has acted rightly at all times'.

Justice Rares found that Mr Brough had conspired with Mr Slipper's accusers, James Ashby and media adviser Karen Doane to bring Mr Slipper down and 'advance the interests of the LNP and Mr Brough'.

Mr Ashby launched a sexual harassment case against Mr Slipper with hundreds of lewd text messages released as part of the court process.

Details of the case were leaked to News Ltd journalist Steve Lewis while Mr Slipper was overseas, ensuring front page coverage around the country before the case had been considered in court.

Mr Abbott said he had been too busy to read the Federal Court findings for himself.

"Look, I haven't read it," he told ABC radio.

Asked why, he said: : "Because I am doing very important things for the people of Australia here in this country right now."

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. Chris Ison

Mr Abbott has maintained he had "no specific knowledge" of the allegations against Mr Slipper before they were made public.

He told the ABC he was keen to once again work with Mr Brough, who was the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in the Howard Government before losing his Caboolture-based seat of Longman.

"Mal is a friend of a mine, Mal was a colleague of mine, I look forward to having Mal as a colleague of mine again," he said.

On the Sunshine Coast, there have been growing rumblings within LNP ranks over Mr Brough's actions in the Slipper case.

There was a strong list of candidates who ran against him for pre-selection with some suggesting the contest should be re-opened.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is maintaining pressure on Mr Abbott on the issue, questioning his role in the affair.

He has also been accused of being hypocritical in condemning Ms Gillard for anointing Mr Slipper as Speaker when the LNP failed to take action against the long-serving Liberal for years, despite their knowledge of his excessive travel expenditure and unacceptable behaviour.

Labor has called for Mr Brough to step down as the candidate or be stood down.

 

>>Read more about Peter Slipper here

>>Read more about Mal Brough here

 

WHAT THE JUDGE SAID ON THE MEDIA AND MAL BROUGH

James Ashby
James Ashby

I am also satisfied that Mr Ashby and (former media adviser Karen) Doane by about 29 March 2012 were in a combination with Mr Brough to cause Mr Slipper as much political and public damage as they could inflict on him.

 

They believed and hoped that (Daily Telegraph's Steve) Lewis would publish unfavourable stories about Mr Slipper concerning whatever they could help Mr Lewis find in relation to Mr Slipper's use of his travel entitlements in the areas of Mr Lewis' curiosity.

That is why each of Mr Ashby, Ms Doane and Mr Brough were anxious to provide Mr Lewis with the diary entries he sought. It is not clear whether Mr Brough had passed on to Mr Lewis Mr Ashby's foreshadowed complaint of sexual harassment in late March 2012.

They also believed that Mr Lewis, and the media generally, would report on any legal proceeding against Mr Slipper in which Mr Ashby alleged sexual harassment.

At this time, Mr Ashby and Ms Doane saw Mr Brough as their means of obtaining favour from the LNP in seeking new employment.

It was obvious that once what Mr Ashby was then planning became public, he and Ms Doane could no longer work as members of Mr Slipper's personal staff.

The relationship of trust and confidence (if it still subsisted) between Mr Slipper and the two staff members would have been destroyed by their acts of calculated disloyalty.

The timing of Mr Ashby's and Ms Doane's actions immediately after 24 March 2012 is also significant.

They believed that new job opportunities would open up to them after the LNP won government in Queensland on the weekend of 24-25 March 2012.

If Mr Ashby could discredit Mr Slipper politically by helping Mr Brough and using Mr Lewis, he perceived that would gain favour for him and Ms Doane in the eyes of the LNP.

Topics:  james ashby, mal brough, peter slipper, tony abbott



NRL, QRL and IRL in the spotlight tonight

Manager of Rugby League in Ipswich, Brendon Lindsay (right) is the guest panellist on tonight's the After the 80.

Panel discuss the latest rugby league news

Father's Day: Your photos and tributes

My daughter and her dad, the greatest at making her giggle.

Thank you to all our readers who shared a photo of their dad

Miracle 'rainbow' baby's nightmare start to life

RAY OF SUNSHINE: Baby Aaliyah Jade Burnie with parents Natasha Heilbronn and David Burnie.

Aaliyah's battle against the odds after mum's pregnancy problems

Local Partners

Love is in the air on The Bachelor, but not for Kiki

The Bachelor Australia contestant Kirralee 'Kiki' Morris.

BACHELORETTE bows out gracefully as show enters its final weeks.

A $65,000 bathroom? The Block's incredible budget blow-outs

The Block contestants Julia and Sasha spent a whopping $65,000 on their first renovated room.

TEAMS deliver most expensive en-suites in reno show's history.

Your guide to a great night out in Ipswich

Electronic duo Nocturnal Tapes, Lachie Mulligan on electronics and Harry Suttor on guitar and vocals, at their 2015 Dolphin Awards ceremony in Ballina.

Five-day gig guide to the best entertainment in Ipswich

Gympie Muster couch dumps down, but still a problem

TIPPING POINT: After an appalling year of couches being dumped at the end of the last Muster, festival organisers have taken litterbugs to task

EFFORTS to combat post-Muster couch dumping are proving effective

Cryptic crosswords: Top clues to solving them

Your guide to solving the cryptic crosswords in your local paper

How high? Twin 20-storey high-rises plan for "over 50s"

A development application has been lodged with the Fraser Coast Regional Council to build two skyscrapers in Hervey Bay.

Developer says Bay needs to move with the times.

City View Hotel: From a pub to a backpackers

NEW LIFE: Hamish Parker has purchsed the City View Hotel and wants to turn it into an accomodation venue.

Architect picks up a little piece of history for a steal

Pub's run-in with law

OLD LOOK: The City View Hotel in 1914.

Prohibition was an issue Ipswich's police officers took seriously

Selling City View was tough call

Former City View Hotel part-owner Wayne Patch.

Over the years there have been numerous proposals for the building

Bunnings starts demolition of historic foundry buildings

SAWTOOTH GONE: Demolition of Foundry sawtooth shed to make way for new Bunnings building.

Lane and footpath closures will take place

Australia's most expensive balcony and it hasn't been built

Viridian Noosa.

How Noosa millionares' squabble could affect body corporates