Australia speaker's sex case thrown out

2012-12-12 12:08
Peter Slipper. (File, AP)

Peter Slipper. (File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sydney - A sex harassment case brought by a male staffer that led to Australia's parliamentary speaker resigning was thrown out of court on Wednesday after a judge branded it a politically-motivated abuse of process.

Peter Slipper quit as speaker in October, six months after his former staffer James Ashby made allegations of harassment involving lewd text messages, unwanted advances and inappropriate comments.

The case saw text messages Slipper sent to Ashby revealed in court and widely published in the media, including one in which the politician suggested to the advisor that "perhaps we are not close enough?"

Others were offensive to women, with Slipper, who did not deny sending them, saying in one that female genitalia looked "like a mussell [sic] removed from its shell".

Federal Court Justice Steven Rares threw out the case after finding Ashby's primary purpose in bringing it was to cause significant public, reputational and political damage to his former boss.

"I have reached the firm conclusion that Mr Ashby's predominant purpose for bringing these proceedings was to pursue a political attack against Mr Slipper and not to vindicate any legal claim he may have," Rares said.


Slipper, who is married, said he felt vindicated by the judgment.

"I have always maintained that Mr Ashby's application was about manipulating the justice system to inflict damage on my reputation and political career and to advance the interests of the Liberal National Party," he said.

Independent MP Slipper temporarily stepped down as speaker in April when the allegations of sexual harassment and also travel fraud first surfaced.

The travel fraud claims were later abandoned as were other allegations Rares described as "scandalous and irrelevant", but Slipper was forced to resign in the wake of the sexist texts, for which he later apologised.

Ashby said he was "extremely disappointed" with the decision and would likely appeal the judgment which made no finding about whether Slipper did sexually harass him in any of the ways alleged.

The revelations about Slipper's off-colour texts triggered Prime Minister Julia Gillard's now infamous speech on misogyny in which she accused the conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott of sexism and hypocrisy.

Slipper's resignation was a blow to Gillard who in 2011 engineered his promotion to speaker after he defected from Abbott's Liberal Party, a move that lost the opposition one vote and shored up her wafer-thin hold on power.

Read more on:    julia gillard  |  australia

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


For the love of Corgis!

WATCH: 35 Corgi's to make your day! If they’re good enough for the Queen of England they’re good enough for us.



Can we communicate with our pets?
8 great natural remedies for your pet
Buying a puppy? Don’t get scammed!
WATCH: These funny animal videos will make you LOL!
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.