THE man who has accused Peter Slipper of sexual harassment first advised the suspended parliamentary speaker to manoeuvre for the position well before he started working in his office.
Fairfax Media has obtained 200 pages of new text messages that reveal James Ashby and Peter Slipper had a ribald relationship with frequent use of coarse language, discussions about Mr Ashby’s sexuality, dismissive references to female genitalia and political war gaming to ”destroy” Mr Slipper’s rival, Mal Brough.
The documents also reveal Mr Ashby developed a long and close relationship with Mr Slipper and his family before he was employed as a media adviser in December.
The new evidence shows Mr Slipper was supportive of Mr Ashby’s sexual orientation, sending him a message that said: ”You motivated me to see some ladies who have gay kids seeking a change in [gay marriage laws].”
In an another exchange, Mr Slipper told the openly gay Ashby: ”What I like bout you is your absolute honesty and openness. By comparison we politicians live in a closed secret world.”
The text messages were filed by Mr Ashby’s legal team in the Federal Court on Friday but have not yet been made public.
Mr Slipper has made an impassioned plea to the court to throw out a sexual harassment case brought by Mr Ashby, saying the lawsuit was ”dressed up” as a sexual harassment case but was really designed to ”hurt my political career, hurt me financially, destabilise the government and destroy my marriage”.
Mr Slipper also believes Mr Ashby ”was placed” in his office or ”contrived a situation where he was able to come to my office” as part of a political conspiracy driven by the Liberal National Party as payback for Mr Slipper accepting the Speaker’s position last November.
Mr Ashby’s barrister, Michael Lee, SC, tendered the 200 pages of documents as part of his client’s defence against Mr Slipper’s claims that the staffer was ”grooming” the Speaker, not the other way around.
Mr Lee read a small selection of messages to the court and tendered the rest into evidence, saying that, shown in their full context, it was clear Mr Slipper was not set up.
The affidavit, obtained by Fairfax Media, includes every text message – notated with the words ”read” or ”sent” accompanied by remarks by Mr Ashby’s legal team.
The new messages also reveal:
■ Mr Slipper was enraged after hearing of a video Mr Ashby had made for a LNP state candidate, telling his aide: ”In this job you are no longer a free agent and I get held to political account for whatever you do …”
■ Mr Ashby first met Mr Slipper in July last year while attending an LNP event on the Sunshine Coast and was asked to dinner at the Slipper residence that evening.
■ Mr Ashby and Mr Slipper’s problems within the LNP, in particular the threat of Mal Brough – who the pair referred to as a c— in the documents – winning preselection for Mr Slipper’s seat of Fisher.
■ Mr Slipper asked Mr Ashby for a drink at a well known gay bar, only for Mr Ashby to advise ”you don’t want to be seen there”.
Mr Ashby’s legal team tendered the view ”that Mr Slipper knew a great deal about gay subculture and [Mr Ashby] was increasingly concerned that he had been hired because Mr Slipper had known of his sexual preference”.
In October, Mr Ashby suggested Mr Slipper aim for the speakership, but the documents reveal Mr Ashby did not understand the requirements of the speakership.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.