Is Peter Slipper the Darren Hughes of Australian Politics?
The sex scandal surrounding former Speaker Peter Slipper is unfolding and compounding at a rate that could soon see a general election in Australia. As the sordid and sorry tale of Peter Slipper is drip fed via court documents it will become death by a thousand cuts.
You have to wonder if Peter Slipper is the Darren Hughes of Australian politics?
The following text message was allegedly sent by Peter Slipper on February 1 to one of his staffers, James Ashby: ”But you’re [sic] call and no hard feelings in that you only want businesslike contact. In that event of the difficulty in our personal.”
Alleged response text by Ashby: ”I don’t know what type of contact you expect Peter. Perhaps u should define that u would like and I can then be clearer on my position.”
Slipper: ”U want something more? U brillianmt [sic] at massages.”Advertisement: Story continues below
Ashby: ”No I’m happy the way things are. I care for u Pete but the massage is at far as it goes. Life’s a lot more simpler when it’s business and a few drinks after work.”
Oh indeed. Unguarded private texts make for queasy reading but they are part of more than a thousand words of texts and alleged dialogue between Slipper, 62, and Ashby, 33, embedded in a compensation complaint lodged by Ashby against Slipper.
Ashby claims Slipper subjected him to sexual harassment while Slipper, who is married, was his employer and Speaker of the House of Representatives. He also claims Slipper misused the Cabcharge system.
Slipper denies the allegations, which emerged in the public domain on Saturday.
Ashby appears to be no paragon of virtue, but for Slipper the issue of his self-indulgence in claiming work expenses has dogged him for years. His own party was seeking to remove him before he left the Liberals and took the Speaker’s role.