Did Mal Brough get himself into even deeper trouble by his responses in Question Time yesterday over what he may or may not have given News Corp journalist Steve Lewis? Sydney bureau chief and Ashbygate author Ross Jones says Brough now looks like a dead duck.
I'D SORT OF LIKE Mal to hang on until the end of the Parliamentary sitting year.
He’s a dead duck, of course. The dingbat confessed on TV to acting contrary to Section 142.1(1) of the Criminal Code of 1995, which carries two years at HM’s leisure and so he’s headed for ignominy that’s for sure.
But the legal process can grind, people can squirm and things can take a while.
This is my preferred option because Dave and I are launching Ashbygate: The Plot to Destroy Australia’s Speaker on 10 December in Caloundra, directly in Brough’s electorate of Fisher (details below).
If the issue could simmer until then, that would be good.
But it probably won’t, because lying to Parliament can result in summary execution.
On Monday, Brough told Parliament:
“I would further confirm for the member who continually asks these questions that I at no time passed any diaries to any journalist. Can I be any clearer than that?”
Yes, you can.
From: Lewis, Steve
Sent: Thursday 29 March 2012 3.27pm
Subject: questions re Slipper
Mal here is a start. I would be fascinated to see what they said for these dates, they involve some large outlays and the destinations were…er…unusual
On how many occasions has Peter Slipper travelled to New Zealand since July 2010?
DIARY EXTRACTS – CAN THESE BE PROVIDED FOR THE FOLLOWING DATES:
Between 11/10/2010 and 13/10/2010 (Canberra)
Between 21/09/2009 and 24/09/2009 (Sydney)
Between 24/07/2009 and 27/07/2009(Canberra)
Another Lewis email 34 minutes later, asks:
Subject: also can you check the following dates
Dec 11 and 12 2009 – there are four of five cab charge expenditures all of which are listed ‘not specified’ on these dates
And what is it about Oaklimo and Slipper?? He has spent literally thousands and thousands on this firm
So, to survive until his boss gets back from saving the world, Mal needs to argue he did not respond to Lewis’ request.
Brough was subpoenaed in 18 July 2012 to hand over all relevant info, but no record of such a reply was tendered to the court. So, maybe he’s hoping there is no extant record?
Yet Brough and Lewis were in regular communication, as the following excerpt from the book Ashbygate reveals:
Wednesday 18 April, at 10.27 a.m., Mal Brough emailed James,
Subject: Need to chat
Hi James, there are potential problems I need to discuss with you as soon as possible. I believe they can be resolved with one conversation between the two of us. I am aware that you are on the Coast so happy to meet privately if that is best. Cheers, Mal.
There is no evidence regarding the substance of their conversation, but it was apparently worth a face to face meeting.
10.43 a.m., Lewis asked Brough,
Slipper in Hungary?
Later, at 8.07 p.m., Lewis again emailed Brough,
As per phone conversation
Lewis attached a copy of Slipper’s cabcharge and hirecar expenses from 14 July 2010 to 12 November 2010. The expense printout was mailed from:
HP Printer mailto:HPrinternewsltd.com.au
9.42 p.m. Brough replied to Lewis,
What a creep!
Back on 18 June 2012, Lewis was also issued a subpoena, but he pulled the journalist thing and avoided it. It is quite possible the AFP have now convinced him to be more forthright, given that News is up to its neck in it, so we might hear more on that front, especially if the alternative is gaol.
Mal might scrape through the last sitting week, but it will be a glum Brough Christmas.
Bear in mind, the diaries are but a sideshow. Busting Mal for the diary stuff is like busting Al Capone for tax evasion. It gets them off the street, but you know there is so much more.
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