Speaker Peter Slipper’s sex harassment accuser James Ashby could be in sorts of legal trouble if rumours wildly circulating Brisbane about him receiving an undisclosed $50,000 payment to bring his Federal Court case are true.
Some even claim that a well-known Slipper nemesis on the Sunshine Coast arranged the payment. We’re not yet willing to name the person but he is a senior political figure.
Ashby, said to have been a troubled lad by those who knew him well at Caloundra High School, is widely understood in political circles to have been paid to make the claims he has made.
The most grave of Ashby’s claims, that Slipper handed over blank Cabcharge dockets to limousine drivers on particular dates for unspecified reasons, appear to have already been proven to be not correct, with most conceding a hand-writing match between the Speaker and the dockets. There’s a general vibe-of-the-thing complaint about Slipper’s spending on travel but he is apparently by no means Club Fed’s biggest or free-est spender. Their sense of entitlement is as unlimited as the entitlements are, it seems. The ones living furthest from the airport run up the biggest bills, we are told.
The sexual harassment claims are to be resolved by the Federal Court and will largely rest on the credibility of the accuser. If Ashby has received payment, a payment said to be in addition to the promise of assistance with all legal bills, this would inevitably come up in the hearing. If he lies about it, and there’s evidence of it that supports the rumours buzzing around Brisbane, then he’ll be guilty of perjury and in serious bother.
While we’re not expecting a response, we will be asking the national Chairman of Harmers law firm, Michael Harmer, who is personally handling Ashby’s litigation, whether Ashby is personally paying for the case and whether he is charging his normal charge-out rate of $600 per hour. It seems highly unlikely Ashby could afford him.
VEXNEWS is closely examining the life and times of James Ashby and we’re not liking what we hear. A trusted political insider, with no fondness for Labor, told us from the start “There’s something NQR (not quite right) about this whole thing.” We’re inclined to agree.
The Coalition, on the verge of a famous victory next year (if not sooner) needs to be very careful about its association with James Ashby, who apparently is a paid-up member of the LNP. If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.