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Dec 17, 2012

Time discrepancies and the strange lack of interest in Ashby affair

A peculiar double standard seems to apply in coverage of the Ashby affair versus the AWU scandal, with a blogger the one unveiling possible issues for Tony Abbott.


While many in the mainstream media seemingly preferred to skip the James Ashby story over the weekend, some bloggers were a little more interested.

In particular, there’s an issue of when, and what, Tony Abbott knew about the impending claims about Peter Slipper by James Ashby, before they were lodged in court. AAP’s Paul Osborne reported on Thursday about a discrepancy between the timing of the writing of Tony Abbott’s press release and the appearance of media reports about Ashby lodging his claims. Abbott’s office dismissed the discrepancy by saying there was a system flaw that meant document timestamps were out by ten hours during that period.

This, inevitably, drew the attention of IT professionals.

IT industry veteran Sortius proceeded to investigate the claim from Abbott’s office at his blog and found some fairly substantial flaws with it. The claim that the entire APH IT system was out by ten hours appears impossible — the system wouldn’t be able to operate if that was the case — but that more likely reflects a lay person’s understanding and phrasing on the part of Abbott’s spokesperson. More significantly, Sortius explains why the originating documents for Abbott’s Saturday morning Slipper press release couldn’t have been created at the time they were supposed to have been created.

Where I disagree with Sortius is on his interpretation of this: I don’t think it’s a particularly major gotcha, and it’s still possible that the media release could have been created on a machine with a clock out by ten hours and then emailed to a machine on the APH system. Nor does the fact that Abbott’s office might have known of major revelations about Slipper the following day (after all, it seems quite a few LNP MPs or prospective MPs did) amount to evidence Abbott himself was involved in any way in what became an abuse of court processes and an attempt to politically damage Slipper via legal means.

It does, however, raise questions that don’t fit the explanation from Abbott’s office, and on the Ashby affair there has been a persistent pattern of Coalition figures — particularly but not only Mal Brough and Christopher Pyne — being less than forthcoming about their role in events leading up to the lodgement of Ashby’s claim. As Lenore Taylor noted on Saturday, there are some serious questions to be answered, particularly by Brough.

On that basis, one would assume the mainstream media would have been anxious to clear up the issue of the timing discrepancy. After all, for months we’ve been treated to the minutiae of Julia Gillard’s legal work 20 years ago, with ancient documents pored over, memories dredged and wild claims made. This relates to an issue not 20-years-old, but nine-months-old.

But, strangely, there’s been nothing. No acres of newsprint from that fine forensic mind of Hedley Thomas. No editorial from The Australian demanding Abbott and Brough allow themselves to be grilled at length. No columns in The Age from Mark Baker. No complaints from Jonathan Holmes about the ABC not following the story up. No interviews on 7.30 with discredited figures making wild allegations against Abbott and then refusing to detail them, let alone back them up.

Perhaps it’s the time of year and everyone’s in holiday mode.

But it’s curious that, after so many resources were devoted this year by The Australian and The Age to unsuccessfully finding a single substantial question to raise about the Prime Minister on the AWU matter, it’s a blogger that has done exactly that about Abbott on the Slipper case.


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71 thoughts on “Time discrepancies and the strange lack of interest in Ashby affair

  1. Daniel Young

    10 hours is a reasonable amount of time for a computer’s clock to be out by. Given that our timezone (in Winter) is GMT+10, it’s possible the PC clock was set to GMT.

    All that aside, it’s a real shame that the MSM seem to be ignoring the coalition’s role in this whole sad affair.

  2. Brad Sprigg

    Bernard I would suggest to have a look at Sortius’s later updates to the article, he has found some evidence that the timestamps on the file may have been altered to hide the true time the document was created.

  3. john willoughby

    The Lib/Nats are in danger of following the same path as the tea party in the U.S .
    When you dwell to long in a parallel universe reality becomes skewed.
    The tea party had Fox News the Lib/nats have News limited.
    Who knows, Rupert might save the country yet..

  4. klewso

    Who oversees/controls/mitigates/manages, sets, the agenda/flow of that “mainstream media irrig(t?)ation system”?
    Where were they when the grits were being flung at that fan?
    Where are they now? Ducked for cover?

  5. el tel

    The other issue here is that closer scrutiny fot eh Ashby affair leads to the role of Canberra press gallery figure Steve Lewis. Katherine Murphy’s column today is indicative. In an otherwise interesting piece on social media and political communications, she is careful to preface comments on Lewis’s role in the Ashby affair with “Steve is a friend of mine, and one of the most assiduous newshounds I know”. Such disclaimers towards Lewis were also routine in any discussion of this matter on Insiders.


  6. SusieQ

    Its all very predictable really and sadly, the weekends events in the USA will certainly make sure the story disappears altogether. The really rotten part is that Mal Brough will be re-elected to Parliament – I hope he gets a barrage of questions a la AWU when he does.

  7. klewso

    Our self-obsessed mainstream viewsmedia is more an impediment (an amorphous lump of aggregated detritus) to the flow of our democracy – being in it’s free-flowing way.
    “Diverting the flow of information” to suit it’s own politicised agenda.

  8. Bill Hilliger

    The last paragraph say’s it all; that’s why many people have just ceased buying or listening to the crappy MSM products and rely on blogger’s to do what the MSM fails to do – be honest and objective. May the MSM slowly sink into oblivion because given the lack of quality of the MSM product nowadays, that where it belongs.

  9. tonyfunnywalker

    Thanks Bernard there is many thinking the same – perhaps the “Coalition of Silence” is evidence of involvement? What did Lewis know?

    This was orchestrated by a PR company and its time line was synchronised to gain maximum effect in the media 24 hr cycle. The perpetrators never thought that this would get far as it did and News Ltd said so. They expected the Government and Slipper would capitulate and Ashby would be awarded millions of dollars of settlement through mediation. Their Pro Bono would end with all taking their cut and their costs recovered.

    They expected the DAVID JONES effect – of a capitulation. When mediation was out of the question and the late release of emails/texts was designed to up the ante on the Government and Slipper.

    Gillard did not take the bait and the Misogyny Speech was the outcome.

    The standard strategy and tactics of any beat up and repeated by Michael Smith et al with the sudden appearance of the key players in the AWU affair was to put added pressure on Gillard.

    Again a misjudgement it would appear from today’s Nielsen poll.

    The judge was sound in his judgement and I believe that the Government is not walking away from this is bigger than Watergate. – ( that was to ensure a new government wasn’t elected — the Slipper affair was designed to bring down a legally elected Government– a Regime Change ) — it is even more serious than the Dismissal of 1975.

    The demand for Brough’s head is only the beginning and things will ramp up prior to the new session of Parliament in February.

    The electorate is fed up with all this, but the air needs to be cleared as to who knew what and when.

    This has happened on Abbott’s watch and not 20 years ago, so memory lapses are not an excuse.

    In the meantime I assume the Select All – Delete buttons on a few email accounts will be working overtime as I can assure you nothing has been documented.

    The ball is back in Slipper’s court and if his attack on Bishop has anything to go by (the press missed this one too as did the Coalition front bench); he will be primed for settling some old and new scores with the Coalition. He has nothing to lose – they have already taken it all, except for his personal pride and dignity and they even tried to demonise that.

    Have a good Christmas Peter.

  10. Iskandar

    Please! Give this political trivial pursuits game a rest. Why did a couple of actual or would-be gay lovers exchanging wink-wink, nudge-nudge emails become an issue of obsessive national importance? It reminds me of that other trivial pursuits game, the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky affair. A couple of consenting adults goofing around in private was elevated to a crime against the state which warranted impeachment. Well, I know the accusation was actually that Clinton “lied to the people of the United States”. Better that he should have had the courage to say “judge me by my performance as your president, and stay out of my private life”. Either way, in both cases the base purpose was blatant political assassination by opposition parties. Better to use your inquisitive mind to analyse this creeping Americanisation of Australian politics, Bernard, than splitting hairs about who knew what and when.

  11. shepherdmarilyn

    Protecting Steve Lewis from his own bad behaviour and another invented story seems to be what they are on about.

    Not one apology to Peter Slipper from anyone, still the lazy insistence that he hates women.

  12. qwerty bluett

    insects. thats all i can say.

  13. SusieQ

    Iskander, sorry, but you have missed the point entirely. Perhaps read TonyfunnyWalker’s post above yours for clarification.

  14. Merve

    “10 hours is a reasonable amount of time for a computer’s clock to be out by. Given that our timezone (in Winter) is GMT+10, it’s possible the PC clock was set to GMT.”

    What he is saying is that these PCs clocks have to be set to within five minutes of the server time for the security ‘tickets’ to work. At least, that is how it works in a standard Server/Client PC setup. Parliament House may have something more or less exotic in place.

  15. Brad Sprigg


    “The ball is back in Slipper’s court and if his attack on Bishop has anything to go by”

    What is this referring to? I’d be interested in reading some info about his attack on Bishop.

  16. beachcomber

    Rupert’s Oz and Gina’s Fairfax media will not investigate anything if it could harm the Coalition.

    Slipper’s local rag, the Sunshine Coast Daily, obessionally investigated everything Slipper has done for years. But Brough is their preferred candidate, and as soon he was implicated they have dropped the story as well. Although not before old journalist made it clear he was p*ssed off Brough lied to him about his involvmenet with Ashby: http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/bills-view-brough-may-pay-highest-price-ashby-case/1660262/

    With the ABC in shutdown mode for Christmas, that only leaves Crikey and indiviual bloggers to try to find the truth. Up to it?

  17. Noely Neate

    Actually I live on the Sunshine Coast and am really dirty that there has been no coverage of this at all. The area is fully conservative so will always vote for whoever the LNP put up and unless the media truly look into this, we go from one lame duck to another. We only have one main paper (and APN one) and they seem to be in bed with Brough too if past reporting style is true, so guess we are stuffed.

    There is all this reporting about effect on Gillard, Abbott, etc., umm how about so reporting on the way it is stuffing up us the punter? http://yathink.com.au/article-display/where-is-the-ashbygate-outrage,31

  18. Peter Bayley

    Perhaps it’s because people might have been surprised Gillard could have had some questions to answer but no-one was the least surprised (or interested) that Abbott was being less than honest. We already know he’s an “At-Any-Price-Except-My_Arse” man

  19. tonyfunnywalker

    A couple of responses to comments, Brad I have emailed a response to Crikey but it was during the Deregulation of wheat sales.

    Apology is in a sense an admission of guilt – remember Howard and Apology to the Lost Generation. The fear is one of having to pay compensation and of course loss of face. And that would be expensive, Loss of Position, Public Humiliation by publicising what was a private communication ( irrespective of its tawdry content), defamatory portrail – remember the ” Rat Face” in the Telegraph.

  20. zut alors

    At the moment the Opposition Leader is parroting that he won’t comment on a matter “still before the courts” – based on Ashby indicating he wishes to appeal the Slipper matter.

    However, in light of Justice Rares’ strongly worded judgement, it would take brave counsel to represent Ashby in any appeal. By the next parliamentary session perhaps Abbott will no longer have that old “still before the courts” chestnut at his disposal. The Coalition needs to be taught a hard lesson on this otherwise history will repeat.

    This will still be alive in 2013.

  21. Douglas Evan

    “I don’t think it’s a particularly major gotcha, and it’s still possible that the media release could have been created on a machine with a clock out by ten hours and then emailed to a machine on the APH system.”

    Bernard, given that you have apparently been following the blogs on this it is surprising that you have either overlooked or ignored the piece by Kieren Cummings for IA. Cummings an IT expert with 20 years experience analyzes the issues and concludes:

    “According to separate reports, the time the documents could be created are 11:08 pm or 11:32 pm. Considering the document was sent at 9:17 am the next day, if the clocks were ten hours out, that would mean the document was created, typed up, and converted to PDF, nine minutes before being sent out — or it was created AFTER being sent.”
    Given that the document is over 400 words in length it is unlikely to have been created in 9 minutes.

    Also, and this is the clincher, Tony Eastleigh explicitly quoted from Abbott’s document on Radio National’s Morning AM at 8.07 that morning, April 21. Abbott is clearly lying. The question in my mind is what that means and why isn’t an investigative journalist with your reputation all over this like a rash?.

    Warren Entsch has owned up to contacting Abbott’s office in advance, the evening previously, to warn him of what was coming up. According to Entsch he was unable to get any information from Steve Lewis the ‘Australian’ journalist who broke the story, beyond that something would be in the paper next morning.

    If that was true why was Entsch determined to communicate this piece of non information to Abbott? For that matter wouldn’t Brough (who is in this up to his neck) wish to keep Abbott, a strong and continuing supporter of Brough’s return to Federal Parliament, in the loop.

    IA says: “And how did Entsch know Ashby’s case was about to break in the press? Well Entsch and Mal Brough are very old friends — much like Slipper and Abbott. But, more specifically, Entsch’s staffer Suzanne Newbury’s husband, James Newbury, is none other than Christopher Pyne’s chief of staff.”

    Whether he got it from , Ashby, Entsch, Brough, Pyne, Bishop or Hockey (all of whom had contact with Ashby that they initially tried to deny)the fact that Eastleigh quoted from the document well before Abbott’s office claimed it was sent shows Abbott to be lying. What does it mean Bernard? Do some digging. Over to you there are a lot of people watching.

  22. Kinkajou

    Obviously its calm before the media perfect storm. Newcorpse and ABC have their undercover operatives in an extended infiltration of the forces of revolution by pretending to be liberals, Fairfax being smarter have attempted to pretend to be evenhanded by allowing a teeny bit of innocuous coverage just in case there is a market for left of centre left in Australia

  23. rubiginosa

    BREAKING: The Australian no longer recommends long sit-down interviews with Hedley Thomas.

  24. geomac62

    zut alors
    Abbotts before the court has no bearing as its not before any court at present . The assumption or off chance of something ending up in court has not deterred Abbott in making judgements about people in the past . His comment that Brough has dealt with the matter in the proper way is extraordinary when considering Brough went from no contact to some contact to numerous contacts . So not telling the truth then obfuscating and finally having texts etc reveal the truth is being transparent and up front according to Abbott . If one were to use the coalition tactics Brough , Pyne etc could be under the pump for at least a few months , inquiry even .

  25. David Allen

    I can’t imagine Albanese letting this one lie. I can see the smile of contented anticipation on his face as he sniffs his Christmas brandy.

  26. qwerty bluett

    i cant believe australians still favour the coalition for election. people get the government they deserve and i suppose australia deserves this lot of shady characters pulling the levers. truly stuck between a rock and a hard place.

  27. tonyfunnywalker

    Thank you Douglas – I will follow that up.

    There is a good case study developing here of the mechanics of running a beat- up. The running sheet for the AWU beat-up was better.

    1. Explode the issue to current day relevance.
    2. Regurgitate the facts in voluminous format.
    3. Vilify and berate your competitors into the fray – if they are reluctant- then give them the crumbs – for example the leaked email to the 7.30 Report and this was followed up by the 7.30 Wilson interview.

    ABC were given some meaningless scoops but at least they are now on board – did they pay for these?

    (Holmes’ Media Watch- haven’t got to the bottom of that one yet)?
    5. Ask questions and always have more questions irrespective of relevance.
    6. Keep patting yourselves on the back with Voluminous and repetitive Exclusives and Editorial coverage to reinforce relevance.
    7. Feed the Opposition with issues to keep them involved and where they think they can benefit. (Gillard loses confidence of back bench, Rudd challenges again, ) but most of all muddy the waters of Government success – don’t give then any clear air.

    Amateurish, unprofessional, obvious — but that’s modern journalism is – if there isn’t an issue create one, or get an ambulance chasing lawyer on board and a PR agency to devise strategy, or just evade privacy and retaliate with vilification and threat when challenged.
    We saw it all in 2012 – but the electorate was not sucked in neither was The Federal Court.
    The judgement will be on every curriculum for some time as it will become a precedent for lawyers and Journalists who seek to tamper with the democratic system by instigating or trying to instigate regime change.
    Watergate was a burglary, the Whitlam’s dismissal was the whim of a GG who had lost the plot, but the AWU and Slipper affairs were contrived bastardry of the first order. It is unravelling at the seams as as Geomac62 suggests there is lot more to unravel. And that is what the Opposition and the press are afraid of and that’s why the ” conspiracy of silence “.

  28. Dogs breakfast

    Turning ………. (gag) ……….. blue……..
    (splutter)…….. waiting ……. (cough) … for unreserved …. apology …… from MSM.


  29. Karen

    I’m so over the fact that yet another fabricated piece of thuggery, the Ashby saga, used by Abbott, media et al to destabilise the govt, has not become the big story that it deserves. No, a quiet burial instead. This, on top of the news burial relating to the cr@p spouted about the carbon tax, AWU, Thomson (where there is still no charge). I wish readers would educate themselves with evidence based facts rather than stupid, lazy claims and commentary.

  30. zut alors

    The remarkable irony here is that the story the MSM is reluctant to pursue is potentially the scoop of the year. Any journalist worth their salt would be onto it like a rat up a drainpipe (imagery intended).

  31. Gratton Wilson

    I don’t think that Mal Brough et al thought that Slipper would defend himself from the filth that was being flung at him. It would be expected that he would be so grossly humiliated that he would either quietly crawl into a hole or even kill himself. All would then be hushed up with no questions asked. Slipper’s e-mails to Ashby were the private conversations between a man and his alleged good friend of assumedly shared views. Both these men were adults not blushing virgins. What you see if you peep through your neighbours windows should not be displayed for public inspection. Abbott is not happy about Tony Windsor mentioning that he offered all but his own arse to get into Government – yeah well he didn’t hesitate to offer Peter Slipper’s.

  32. Kate Ahearne

    I believe that all of us who care about this issue know by now that the media are not going to pursue this matter unless we force them to. In defence of the media, let me remind us all that this is the Christmas period, which does account for at least some part of the absence of adequate response.
    But this benign and open-minded sort of reasoning won’t take us very far. If the news had been about Julia Gillard – something ghastly, or even potentially ghastly, or even capable of being talked up as ghastly – it would have been all over every front page, Christmas or not.
    It does look as though what we have is a hostile media. If we were in court, we could claim a ‘hostile witness’. But we’re not in court, not yet.

  33. Julian Fitzgibbon

    “I don’t think it’s a particularly major gotcha, and it’s still possible that the media release could have been created on a machine with a clock out by ten hours and then emailed to a machine on the APH system.”
    A more likely scenario would be created on a stand alone machine set on UK time and then uploaded by the internet to the APH email system by a webmail portal. So the file would end up on the APH network (ie the mail server) but this would not be so obvious to the creator of the document who was sitting at home or in a Sydney office.

    The alternative scenario has someone sitting in a Canberra office at 23:00 created a media release without even reading what was in the papers and then sending it without alteration the next morning. I assume that Abbott did have “non-specific” knowledge that something was going to break, I just don’t see an advantage of writing a press release the night before. Since they have been very definite they didn’t and since they appear to have shown similarly time stamp discrepancies to AAP there doesn’t seem good evidence to doubt them

  34. tonyfunnywalker

    Now Abbott has a computer problem – this is getting worse. I seem to recall Rose Mary Woods Nixon’s secretary who erased the “interesting bits” from the White House tapes. This is getting beyond a joke – why has it taken so long to discover the day / date error?

    Abbott is becoming more tarnished as Nixon did as time went on.

    At least a parliamentary inquiry as the odium rises. BTW check the ABC computers as the email receipt will give time of receipt in EST.

    Abbott and his staff must believe that we are all stupid.

    Please publish the email Tony Eastley ASAP. (or standin.)

    I expect you should do so on AM tomorrow morning.

    I will be listening.

  35. iggy648

    Iskandar, I don’t think it’s trivial. A lot of Australians have fought and died for my right to vote in elections and take part in the selection of the Government. When people like Godwin Gretch and James Ashby try to disenfranchise me by these kind of dirty tricks, I get very, very angry indeed. Call me old fashioned.

  36. Sabre Bleu

    Oh hog wash Bernard.
    The real issue remains the unconscionable behaviour of Peter Slipper whilst in the role of the Speaker. Compounded by the double standard of acceptance of his behaviour for political reasons by the parliamentary Labour Party. Complexly obfuscated by the Prime Minister’s daft misogyny speech after supporting the Speaker, outed by his own alleged written word.
    And Bernard Keane wants to bang on about who was right, who was wrong, who knew, who didn’t, and when.
    It doesn’t matter. Who cares if the administration of the legal system was abused to reveal something completely unsavoury about the Speaker? It had to be said.
    But over all its the collective bit players in the Federal farce of Canberra that are the focus. They’re all damned politicians. They should not be encouraged. And most certainly they should not be fed; metaphorically speaking.

  37. Julian Fitzgibbon

    “Also, and this is the clincher, Tony Eastleigh explicitly quoted from Abbott’s document on Radio National’s Morning AM at 8.07 that morning, April 21.”
    & “Please publish the email Tony Eastley ASAP. (or standin.)”

    You would need the meta-data on the PDF attached to any such email, since you can’t assume it was the same document. If you feel so strongly about it you should be able to get it using FOI – I don’t think you could pull the old “protecting a source” trick on this.

  38. beachcomber

    @Sabre Bleu 36, the suggestion that Slipper’s bad behaviour only started when he left the LNP is silly. It now is public knowledge that John Howard knew what Slipper was up to when he was his Parliamentary Secretary. His Office was reportedly shown a home video of him b*nking a male staff member (or vice versa, Howard himself has not rushed forward to clarify their positions). He did nothing to stop Slipper being the LNP candidate at several subsequent elections. The Federal Coalition knew about this, but there is no evidence the ALP was included in the loop. Indeed while Slipper was inside the tent, his activities were discretely ignored by the Coalition. But when he was forced out by Mal Brough’s mad rush for Slipper’s seat of Fisher, it conveniently became public knowledge. And the Ashby affair soon followed. Abbott is up to his armpits in this.

  39. tonyfunnywalker

    I note it only the Australian that is running ‘ The problem with the Abbott computer and it is our blogg that has stimulated the response.

    For Tony Eastleigh ( I apologise for the misspelling earlier) to run that release it would have had to pass editorial scrutiny, so the ABC had the release long before Eastleigh went to air to include it in the program.

    It would have been too risky to do otherwise. They would have checked with Abbotts office as well to ensure there was no embargo.

    The OZ is watching you BTW.

    Interesting Hedley has new info on the AWU- is this a diversion?

    The Rose Mary Wood tape transcriptions episode is well documented. “The leaden foot of coverup”.

    The Watergate notoriety was not the event in itself, it was the coverup and its exposure that exposed Nixon for what he was and led to his impeachment.

    Helped of course by Deep Throat and the Washington Post reporters and of course the ace journalist Sir David Frost who interviewed Nixon.

    Nixon was not a bad President – he got the US out of Vietnam and he opened up dialiogue with China but he was foolish when it came to reelection paranoia.

  40. Julian Fitzgibbon

    “For Tony Eastleigh ( I apologise for the misspelling earlier) to run that release it would have had to pass editorial scrutiny, so the ABC had the release long before Eastleigh went to air to include it in the program. ”

    Nonsense, they run it as a Tony Abbott press release, Tony Abbott is responsible for any legal implications of the contents. If there was an embargo it would be contained with the press release.

  41. klewso

    And they should all be treated the same – no pets.

  42. klewso

    Didn’t all this happen before Jenkins resigned and Slipper became Speaker? Or am I reading the wrong history?

    [And didn’t Nixon beat his wife, Pat?]

  43. zac48

    I think it a bit disingenuous to try and make any comparison at all between the pantomime, “The Adventures of Slippery Pete and his wingman”….Yawn, wait for the musical…. and the real scandals. Craig Thomson’s financial escapades with the HSU and the, still under police investigation, systemic theft of $100’s of thousands of dollars from union ‘slush funds’ and it’s apparent connection to a serving Australian Prime Minister. Keeping in mind there are many unions that gather under the same Labor Party umbrella I don’t think the workings of one union would be much different to another. I think there should be a royal commission into the Australian union movement.

  44. Sabre Bleu

    I made no reference to the timing of Slipper’s behaviour. I was simply connecting his protected species status under the Gillard Government for pure longevity purposes. I was not claiming a sudden change of behaviour when he became Speaker, which does beg the question: “If he was a rat-bag of the first order, why would a sane PM countenance him as the Speaker?”.
    I don’t care who was up to what where in the armpits in the swamp saga.
    Politicians. An easily unlikeable species. Some more easily unlikeable than others.

  45. Houghy

    While I appreciate you are at least pointing out the MSM serious lack of attention to an issue of this magnitude, I must say I’m a bit disappointed in you Crikey… I thought you guys were the champions of independent journalism? Especially with your talent and experience Bernard, why aren’t you investigating these unanswered questions? What a huge scoop it could be… not to mention a huge favour for the Australian electorate…

  46. geomac62

    Sabre Bleu
    ” The real issue remains the unconscionable behaviour of Peter Slipper whilst in the role of the Speaker. ”
    If you are referring to the mutual crude texts between Slipper and Ashby you will find most were before the speakers job . In fact the texts were when he was still in the coalition . Could you elaborate what constitutes as unconscionable behaviour as I,m unaware of any actions that fit your description ? It would appear that the coalition rushed in to judgement while Labor sought for natural justice and the coalition overcooked the situation . Opinion is one thing but you have made a statement about behaviour whilst speaker ( Slipper ) yet provide zero information as to what it was . Not good enough .

  47. Patriot


    “the suggestion that Slipper’s bad behaviour only started when he left the LNP is silly. It now is public knowledge that John Howard knew what Slipper was up to when he was his Parliamentary Secretary. His Office was reportedly shown a home video of him b*nking a male staff member (or vice versa, Howard himself has not rushed forward to clarify their positions). He did nothing to stop Slipper being the LNP candidate at several subsequent elections.”

    What constitutes unconscionable or even just bad behaviour in that lot? Bоnking someone? Making a tape of himself bоnking? Or is it something else that troubles you? You mentioned that it was a male. Are you a hоmpоhоbe? And before you tell me you’re outraged because it was a workplace fling, consider that Julia bоnked one of her Party colleagues who now serves in her cabinet and at least one client when she was a lawyer. And that while they were both married to other women.

  48. Sabre Bleu

    Go Google the texts from Slipper for the salacious content.
    Again. It makes no difference when Slipper exchanged the texts.
    He did. That is on the public record.
    He was appointed as Speaker with a disgraceful record of behaviour.
    “Unconscionable” because his alleged written word denigrated women.
    Yet, he was still supported by the Gillard Government, lead by a person grandstanding with a misogyny speech.
    Seems Slippery Pete’s behaviour was the best unkept secret in Canberra.
    Yet he was still appointed Speaker. As we all know, to keep the government numbers up.
    It’s all boring really. It was Bernard Keane who wrote this article. Not me.
    I am simply expressing a view on a blog that has about as much substance as Fairy Floss at the Royal Show.

    I contend again. Politicians. Don’t encourage them.

  49. Patriot

    You might also consider how you and your fellow lefties would have reacted if Howard had punished him for having a relationship with a male staff member.

  50. rhwombat

    Ah. Here come the blowies. When Troofie weighs in, you know BK has opened the sump trap again.

  51. tonyfunnywalker

    well well we really have caused a stir — Fitzgibbon the truth will out — you started the diversion and you and ” protest too much sire”.

    Sure the Howard government knew he was tainted, yet he was re-edorsed as the LNP candidate for Fisher — how many times???

    No tainted vote argument here I note?

    Even after he resigned as Speaker, Abbott canvassed his vote?? No tainted vote here either ?? He was fair game.

    No one criticised his tenure as Speaker – he was a good speaker in the Westminister tradition.

    The Federal court move was a bad move and poorly executed by amateurs and you now need to face the consequences like Nixon before you.

    He too tried the denial path and all it did was to eventuate in his impeachment.

    It was over reach- there was no immediate capitulation, there was no million dollar settlement, but a court judgement that will haunt the Coaltion for years.

  52. qwerty bluett

    i dont get why slipper texts are considered that bad. i mean, would people be up in arms if a female politician referred to male parts as a shrivelled sausage? i don’t think so. it’s just because of the whole “misogyny” meme that people are kicking up a fuss. seriously,

  53. Liamj

    LNP – how many rotten apples? But at least we’ve got a process that might work to flush them.

    MSM – the dog that didn’t bark, the best pillar of democracy that money can buy, and they’re bought. We’ve got no fix for this except regulation, and it seems theres too many white ants in the ALP for that to get up. Unless the Greens&Independants force it on them?

  54. مكينMrGibberish


    “why not?”

    “because my secret boyfriend won’t let me silly!”

  55. beachcomber

    I really don’t care what Slipper does and to what, but the Coalition clearly salivates at the options now that he’s outside the tent. It is the Coalition that sets itself up as Judge and Jury. Along with yourself I suspect.

  56. geomac62

    Judging by the headline and the articles content I thought it would be obvious that the media and lack of interest was the main topic . How is it that before the judgement anything was considered of interest and now very little about the participants ( conspirators ) ? You say it makes no difference when Slipper exchanged the texts but neglect that Ashby reciprocated in like vein . In fact you never mention Ashby as if he has no bearing in the matter though the judge explicitly as abusing the legal process for venal and political reasons . You don,t mention Brough , Pyne or Abbott either and makes one wonder if you read the article or just want to mention Slipper and his election as speaker by the parliament .
    Well if half a forest can be cut down to print all the stuff before the judge gave his decision at the very least a small copse should be lopped to find out who is hiding the facts behind the hatchet job and who payed the piper .

  57. Sabre Bleu

    Keane’s article stands as his point of view as to what constitutes important. Its just raking the dirt in a different direction. It’s all dirt no matter what way you view it.

    I am more concerned that Slipper in all his ignominious glory was appointed the Speaker of the House.

    Ashby? He was a staffer.

    If his behaviour was manifestly a Honey-Trap then the Speakers fly was well and truly caught. Regardless of deliberate behaviour on Ashby’s part, or not, the Speaker of the House needs to show greater judgement than that demonstrated by Slippery Pete.

  58. David Hand

    Well, they say the cover up is a greater sin than the original one.

    Go after Tony Abbott and see how far you get. It will be entertaining.

  59. Chris Johnson

    Under an Ashbygate spotlight the Liberal Party would go up in smoke. Ashby knows it and so does the media and neither is game to flick the switch.

  60. geomac62

    Ashby was just a staffer ? Its of no concern to you that Ashby lodged a vexatious harassment case against his employer solely to damage Slipper and the government ? Its of no concern to you that members of the LNP actively participated in supporting Ashby ? By just how much we are yet to find out but that PR guy costs serious money and isn,t on no win no pay . Promises of jobs to Ashby and his fellow staffer , collusion , theft of personal details plus attempts to remove a government by means other than the ballot box but Slipper is your concern . A very narrow perspective or a LNP one , same thing really .

  61. tonyfunnywalker

    We do not have to go after Abbott public opinion already has with a 7000+ base The Age poll has 97% agreeing that Abbott is a liability to the Libersl Party. No statistical errors here it is a emphatic Yes.

    Its not representative but with 7000 repsonses it at least random.

    So for all the Abbott apologists it may be too late and perceptions are hardening.

    The other piece of good news is the Guardian is setting up an Australian editon so lets hope that we now see some decent investigative journalism rather than the ” beat up variety” posing as journalism.

    In the meantime all of you Slipper sluggers – there is the matter of Troy Buswell for the Liberals in WA to contend with. They say he is a good treasurer but…………..

  62. Will

    Sabre’s outrage on behalf of the dignity of the office of the Speaker is touching but rather obviously confected. The total fixation on Slipper is discordantly off-topic in a thread about the conspicuous silence of the media on the weighty issue of abusing legal process, and it’s pretty clearly part of a calculated attempt to maximise partisan damage on the ALP. The platitudinous pox on both house routine can’t hide the fact that all specifics damaging to the Coalition are omitted and downplayed, and that your towering moral concern about Slipper arrives fully formed, de novo, at his appointment – conveniently ignoring any mutuality to the issue.

    I don’t care for Slipper, personally, and I did find the texts crass and mildly offensive. Bbut I don’t think they’re particularly relevant to anything about the performance of his office. The media’s labelling of them as appallingly sexist was completely overblown, especially when they have dealt with much worse sexist remarks about female capacities with kid gloves. Of far more concern to me was Slipper’s history of abusing copying and travel privileges which has apparently happened for a long time. Otherwise, for a tainted Speaker, he performed his actual duties rather well by all accounts.

  63. tonyfunnywalker

    For all the argument and mumbo jumbo on day / time date . on Abbott’s computer. The answer lies in the PDF itself. A sample of 20 PDF’s of academic papers consistently shows that it you go File/ drawdown menu / properties / the log history of the document appears – when it was created / the author/ time of creation / times of amendment.

    Encription protects the content not the file properties.

    So you journalists – the answer lies on your computer.

    Of course you all knew that.

    So Abbot’s computer glitch is irrelevant.

  64. tonyfunnywalker

    For all the vilification of Slipper the Speaker, Comparsion with the current and pervious Speakers in Westminster makes a interesting comparison with the conduct of the Speaker (and their family )whilst in the position of Speaker.

    Slipper was by far the one that maintained the dignity of the role in the traditional Westminster Parliamentary System.

  65. Buddy

    @ Sabre Bleu
    ” The real issue remains the unconscionable behaviour of Peter Slipper whilst in the role of the Speaker. “

    As many others have also said.. What did he do wrong.. So he’s gay.. Thinks womens vag*na’s look like musselss and other such things……….AND!!! I’m female.. I could care less what he privately thinks of my bits. I wouldnt call him a misoginist.. I’d call him gay or Bi-sexual at least

    The LNP knew everything about him for years and years and years but apparently until he dared to become speaker he was fit to be in their party….

    Ms Gillard DID NOT endorse his texts…………. Well those of you who keep stating this hear it .. SHE DID NOT… what she recomneded was that the court process be allowed to be the judge.. not the parliamnet.. And as it turns out she was dead right……….!!!! Due Process proved waht we all knew.. The LNP used this to unseat Slipper in order to benefit their mate Brough

  66. dazza

    Back to topic of the day,…Why is it that News unlimited has gone quiet on this?
    And Sabre Bleu, who cares if slippers a pof-ter, he’s been found NOT Guilty! What we need is the OZ hacks coming out of their rat-holes, and report the facts On all this nonsense.
    BTW (off topic) 16 people killed and 40 seriously injured in a Pakistani car bomb attack. Will the Oz and others publicse this as much as other fatal killings ( US) which includes hourly updates and funeral proceedings?

  67. Ron King

    Slipper was a disaster waiting to happen for Gillard…another example of her seemingly clever short termism and idiocy at the long game. This woman hasn’t got the brain power or political wisdom to imagine the consequences of her actions.

    Brough has an Elmer Gantry like feel about him – the clipped glibness and declarative certainty of the showground barker at work. Very stupid though if he did conspire with Ashby by email to ‘honey trap’ Slipper – although no-one can shed a tear for trad Anglican Minister Slippery Pete – Kevin Rudd’s church door hypocrisy looks saint-like in comparison.

    Mal, if you are into conspiracy – use a safe drop or a scrambler on your landline for your communications old son….

  68. geomac62

    Ron King
    I,d be interested to know your perception of Abbott and his lack of concern about finding of the judge regarding Brough . The LOTO thinks his mate has acted rightly but didn,t bother learning why the judge found otherwise . Nothing to see here type reaction yet has confected outrage about the former speaker before the finding . Whyalla wipeout ? What about saying he hadn,t read the BHP report to Sales yet blamed government policies for deferral of SA mine work ? The next day he said he had misheard the question and had read the report . Misheard ! He said he had not read the report so although he claimed to have misheard he answered the question as one would expect with a yes or no . No interviews after his trip to the UK though because we know he will be ” too tired ” like after his last gaff . It would be interesting to know how much taxpayers are paying for Abbotts stunts and trips overseas with the UK jaunt a junket . Certainly not important business for Australians as Abbott vaguely put it , no details as usual .

  69. David Allen

    “Certainly not important business for Australians as
    Abbott vaguely put it , no details as usual .”

    Yes Geo. Couldn’t believe the reporter didn’t press him on what this ‘important business’ might be.

    His easy ride has to stop soon, surely?

  70. Holden Back

    Putting up Important Notices signed Abbott?

  71. tonyfunnywalker

    Abbott reaction is beyond comprehension and reprehensible, — Trod on Wicket dismissal again for the third time.

    1. BHP on the 730 report.
    2. In the Parliament during question time when he was given a free hit by Gillard.
    3. And Again as the Conspiracy of Silence continues – no time to read the judgement — I support Brough?

    It won’t go away Tony — just because you are too busy.

    Gillard 3 Abbott nil

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