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James Ashby claimed that, in 2003, the Commonwealth under PM John Howard heard allegations then LNP MP Peter Slipper had sexually harassed a male staffer — so why did the LNP cover it up, asks Ross Jones.

AROUSAL is a funny thing.

For some men it’s the sight of flesh, male or female; for some, even pain.

For me, it’s documents. They stay around forever; a breadcrumb trail to genesis.

I refer, of course, to a document grandly titled ‘Originating application under the Fair Work Act 2009 alleging discrimination’, dated as filed with the Federal Court on 20 April 2012.

Applicant: James Ashby. First respondent: Commonwealth of Australia. Second respondent: Peter Slipper.

Let’s have a little look and see where it goes.

The allegation grande:
 
Between January 2012 and March 2012 the Second Respondent made unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome sexual comments and unwelcome suggestions of a sexual nature to the Applicant.
Unwelcome. Covers everything from ‘fuck off’ to ‘love to but can’t you see I’m doing my nails?’.

By way of background to the second respondent’s supposed perfidy, the applicant introduces a young spunk:
 
In or around mid-2003, the First Respondent became aware the Second Respondent had formed a relationship of a sexual nature with a younger male member of staff employed in the office of the Second Respondent.
In other words, in May 2003 the Commonwealth was presented with allegations the Member for Fisher, an LNP member, was indulging in the other with a "younger" male member of staff.

And who was in government in 2003? The LNP. And once they (allegedly) received this excrement-caked grenade, what did they do? Nix.
 
The First Respondent obtained this knowledge via its employee, Mr Tony Nutt, a Senior Adviser to the then Prime Minister, John Howard.

That’s Howard, J.

Tony Nutt and John Howard

It goes on:

Mr Nutt was so informed by Megan Hobson, a former member of the Second Respondent’s staff who had viewed a video in which Mr Slipper was observed to….
It’s SO hard to find good staff these days.

I’ll spare you the gratuitously salacious details, but the upshot is that Mr Nutt, and probably his boss, allegedly found the whole thing so nation-shattering the brow-beaten Ms Hobson was told to ‘forget all about it’.

The Member for Fisher was then still deeply in the LNP fold.

It gets worse [IA emphasis]:
‘The Commonwealth thereafter failed to take reasonable and effective steps to prevent the Second Respondent from utilising his office to foster sexual relationships with young male staff members’.
Far out, now there’s more than one. This is obviously out of hand.

Howard, J, DO SOMETHING!

Who are these boys? Where are their statements? Where is any evidence at all?

These kids were supposedly wounded and in need of help.

According to the applicant, Ms Hobson supposedly stated that in or around May 2003 one of Slipper’s junior male staff members informed her:
I have been abused by Peter (Slipper). We had drinks after an electorate event on Australia Day (2003). Peter made advances to me and I said ‘no’’.
Allegedly, the:
... junior male staff member showed Ms Hobson scabs on his knuckles where he said he had recently hit a brick wall whilst defending himself against an attack by Peter Slipper during a parliamentary trip to Adelaide.
You don’t know whether to laugh or cry, do you?

We understand Ms Hobson has denied she made any such allegations. Certainly, she refused to sign the affidavit tendered as “evidence” — something Justice Rares was extremely scathing about in his judgement.

Fantasies like these take effort and a certain kind of mind. I'm not talking the good kind.

What a fit up.

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