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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.