James Ashby - former staffer of Peter Slipper. November 26, 2015.
Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily
James Ashby - former staffer of Peter Slipper. November 26, 2015. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily Patrick Woods

Decision to drop Slipper diary investigation "a surprise”

THE Labor MP who asked the Australian Federal Police to investigate the alleged leaking of details of former Fisher MP Peter Slipper's diary says he is surprised at the decision to close the investigation but that the process must be respected.

Moreton MP Graham Perrett made the comments after the AFP yesterday confirmed the investigation, which began in 2014 and touched on the actions of Mr Ashby, former Coalition Minister and Fisher MP Mal Brough, former Member for Longman Wyatt Roy and South Australian Coalition Minister Christopher Pyne had been dropped.

The confirmation ends a long-running saga that followed allegations of sexual harassment against former Fisher MP Peter Slipper.

Mr Ashby, now on the staff of One Nation Senate leader Pauline Hanson, declined to comment yesterday.

Mr Brough stood down as Special Minister of State under Malcolm Turnbull as the investigation dragged on and subsequently announced he would leave Parliament.

In a statement to the ABC, the AFP said it considered the matter finalised.

"In September 2014 the AFP received a request to investigate matters relating to the alleged unauthorised disclosure of information from the official diary of former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Peter Slipper," the statement read.

"Following a thorough investigation material was provided to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions for certain advice.

"As a result of the advice provided by the CDPP the matter did not proceed further."

Labor Member for Moreton Graham Perrett, who made the request for the AFP to investigate, told the Sunshine Coast Daily the decision had come as a "bit of a surprise" given admissions made by Mr Brough on the Channel Nine program 60 Minutes.

"That seemed to be a fairly good indication (of what occurred)," Mr Perrett said.

"But the AFP is very professional. This is a salutary lesson to anyone who thinks to interfere with the democratic processes that the AFP and media are vigilant.

"It was never the crime of the century but overall interfering with democracy made my blood boil.

"It is a difficult bar proof beyond reasonable doubt. The bar is set high and so it should. We all need to respect the process."

The allegation was Mr Ashby, prompted by Mr Brough, illegally copied pages of Mr Slipper's official diary in March, 2012 to support his plant to pursue sexual abuse allegations against his former boss.

In December, 2012, Mr Ashby ultimately lost his harassment case against Mr Slipper who was forced to resign as Speaker when details of text messages became public.

The saga also cost Mr Brough his ministerial position although his decision to not recontest Fisher was not connected to the affair.

Mr Roy, who at one point was linked to the investigation, lost his seat of Longman in this year's federal election.

Mr Ashby's stocks have in contrast soared since he linked with Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party resurgence.

He was Ms Hanson's pilot during her pre-election campaigning and is now her Chief of Staff.