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Crikey says: politics at its grubbiest

Peter Slipper has no case to answer — Mal Brough just might. How did Robert Thomson climb the News Corporation ladder? Michael Chaney’s testing boardroom battles. Gina Rinehart’s book reviewed (is she mad?). And why our kids just aren’t keeping up with the rest of the world.

Case closed. James Ashby’s claims of harassment against his former boss — and the parliamentary speaker — Peter Slipper have been thrown out of court. Slipper has no case to answer.

Nobody emerges from this sordid saga with a squeaky clean reputation. But Slipper, remarkably, goes closest.

As Margot Saville reports from the courtroom, Mal Brough, the former Howard government minister who is now running for the Liberal-National Party in Slipper’s seat, was in this up to his neck, according to Justice Steven Rares. And as Bernard Keane notes, it was shadow attorney-general George Brandis who in October insulted government officials and claimed a Commonwealth attempt to have Ashby’s case struck out was motivated by politics. The court, clearly, disagrees.

There’s no doubt this was about politics, the grubbiest kind, but everyone played a part: from the colourful MP and his adviser, to Brough and the LNP machine working behind him, to a Labor government that put Slipper in the chair in a desperate political act — knowing much of what could come out.

It all stinks. But maybe, just maybe, we can move on.

9
  • 1
    klewso
    Posted Wednesday, 12 December 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Utegate”, “AWUgate” and now “Slipper-rail”, what’s their next trick?

  • 2
    Gnius1
    Posted Wednesday, 12 December 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    And this is why my subscription to your newsletter is not being renewed. This editorial could have been found in any hard copy newspaper in the country. You no longer have a point of difference from them. Rather than reporting on just how bad the whole situation was for the Liberal party (and being able to use extensive quotes from the judge who held that point of view) you decided to use the well worn tactic of saying both sides of politics were to blame.

  • 3
    Warren Joffe
    Posted Wednesday, 12 December 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    Did the judge in Ashby’s case actually hear Brough or counsel representing him before saying highly derogatory things about him? If so, isn’t that a serious scandal?

  • 4
    AR
    Posted Wednesday, 12 December 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    how many people forecast here that this would turn to shit in the lying mouths? Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving cohort of contemptibles.
    Now if only the CraigT imbroglio also turns to dust in their maws, pleeeez Santa.

  • 5
    Clinton Barnes
    Posted Wednesday, 12 December 2012 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Surely the Coalition has gone beyond the pale here..

  • 6
    SBH
    Posted Thursday, 13 December 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Yes, let’s all just move on and forget that, not for the first time the coalition has made a serious, senior and concerted effort to overturn the democratically elected government and trash our democratic institutions.

    Puts the activities of a suburban solicitor 20 years ago in a context doesn’t it.

  • 7
    Warren Joffe
    Posted Thursday, 13 December 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    SBH do you think you do yourself or the persuasiveness of your arguments much good by simply emoting while neglecting facts which would stare most people in the face.

    E.g. “a suburban solicitor 20 years ago”!!! Actually I expect a suburban solicitor (e.g. John Cain before becoming Premier of Victoria) to be honest, meticulous, professional and not behave egregiously after his/her first year or so. But she was a (salaried) partner in a city solicitor with big clients. More to the point is the fact that she was well into her 30s and now, not simply relying on how silly people in love can be, wants us to believe that she didn’t have a clue how her lover was financing the house she helped him buy. And remember that’s on top of untrustworthy behaviour before the last election including plotting to get rid of Rudd and promising no carbon tax.

    One might care to compare the tight oligarchic structure of the union-dominated ALP where organising numbers and using contacts (a la Obeid) provide systemic explanations for our being badly governed (though getting by because of our undeserved luck) under Labor, with, in contrast, the much more heterogeneous and unstructured offerings of the Coalition which will find plenty of ways of conferring sub-optimal government but does not require us to accept a self-interested oligarchy as does the ALP or, in the USA, both parties in so far as they are bought by Wall Street, lcoal business interests, not to mention a certain lobby more interested in international affairs….

  • 8
    Malcolm Harrison
    Posted Thursday, 13 December 2012 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    the judge calls the case a conspiracy to change the power balance in the house of reps. there are words in the political lexicon to describe this - words like putsch or coup. yet you, the smh and lenore taylor think that this should just go away. what am i missing here?

  • 9
    Warren Joffe
    Posted Friday, 14 December 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    @ Malcolm Harrison
    “the judge calls the case a conspiracy to change the power balance in the house of reps”

    Did he really? Would you to give a precise quote, preferably with page citation and context.

    And what does your purported paraphrase mean? Clearly he didn’t find any kind of criminal conspiracy and couldn’t have. The government “conspired” to get Slipper to cross the floor by dislodging a good honest Speaker and giving his position, an office traditionally and actually central to Westminster style democracy, to the wretched and known-to-be-unsavoury Slipper. The government “conspired” to overcome its democratic deficit after a putsch against the PM by the present PM by bribing the Independents with expensive promises to do things which couldn’t be justified by ordinary good government. Oh dear, politics is unsavoury isn’t it?

    Without a lot of work that neither you or I it seems are willing to do I can’t find an answer to the question why Ashby shouldn’t be entitled to pursue his claim for damages just because he, and maybe others (not parties to the case or represented by counsel), wanted to pursue the case for purposes other than the prospect of getting damages.

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