News

Slipper to face Ashby

Former Speaker Peter Slipper.
Former Speaker Peter Slipper. Warren Lynam

UPDATE: For the first time in the Peter Slipper lawsuit saga, the sidelined Speaker will be forced to face his former staffer James Ashby in a behind-closed-doors showdown at Sydney's Federal Court today.

Justice Steven Rares yesterday (02/10) ordered the pair into forced mediation.

The visibly frustrated Sydney judge had expected to hear part two of an abuse of process claim, brought against Mr Ashby by Mr Slipper, but the Speaker failed to turn up.

His lawyers had argued Mr Ashby and his legal team had conspired to harm the Speaker's reputation.

The Speaker however sacked his lawyers last week and late Monday - a public holiday - he emailed the court to say he would be unable to attend the following morning.

Justice Rares described Mr Slipper's actions as a "completely outrageous piece of behaviour by someone who should know better" and a "gross discourtesy to the court".

Barrister Michael Lee, for Ashby, called for the hearing to go ahead in Mr Slipper's absence.

He said his client had been "more demonised than Linda Blair in The Exorcist" and both he and his legal team were "entitled to be vindicated".

He also claimed comments made in the media by Federal Attorney General Nicola Roxon "undermined the legitimate public confidence in the judiciary" and should be considered as a reason for the hearing to continue.

Ms Roxon's comments followed last week's announcement that Mr Ashby and the Commonwealth had reached a $50,000 settlement over claims the Federal Government failed to provide a safe working environment.

But that settlement sparked another legal argument in court yesterday (02/10) and could not be finalised as expected.

Mr Lee said the Commonwealth had requested Mr Ashby sign a deed acknowledging the Federal Government did not have ongoing liability after the deal was struck.

He and Commonwealth Barrister Julian Burnside spent more than an hour and a half in a back room but could not agree on what Mr Burnside described as a "quite narrow grounds".

Justice Rares ordered the Commonwealth to take part in today's mediation which has been set down to resolve all the outstanding issues between the three parties including Mr Ashby's claims he was sexually harassed by the Speaker.

He said "something has to happen" and the time had come to "knock people's heads together".

Both Mr Slipper and Mr Ashby are required to appear in person at the mediation which will be heard before a registrar from 9.30am.

If the mediation fails, the case will return to the Federal Court.

Topics:  court, james ashby, peter slipper, politics, sexual harassment



Greyhound ban a balloon in the wind: Joyce

Deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce.

Nationals MPs worried about electoral backlash

Chamber think-tank to target empty CBD shops

The Grafton Chamber of Commerce has identified the large number of vacant shops in Prince St as an issue a think it is forming next month can tackle.

Grafton's vacant shops in the sights of business group.

Fishing restructure 'a shambles'

Training day leaves co-op GM angry and frustrated

Local Partners

Sabeena joins Ramsey St crew

Yamba girl Sabeena Manalis is currently appearing on the soapie cult classic Neighbours.

Yamba actress joins cast of Australian soapie

Angelina turns to Depp for consolation after divorce

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with their six children

Angelina Jolie is reportedly being consoled by Johnny Depp

Conner's food distraction leads to elimination

Australian Survivor contestant Conner Bethune.

HUNGER gets to castaway as Australian Survivor's tribes merge.

Bonus point gets Dan and Carleen over the line on The Block

Dan and Carleen in their winning living and dining rooms in a scene from The Block.

BABY boomers win living and dining week as show hits halfway mark.

Olivia Wilde having a girl

Olivia Wilde revealed she is expecting a baby girl.

Michael Palin: Terry Jones dementia is 'painful' to see

Michael Palin has found Terry Jones' decline "painful to watch"

Clarence Valley property prices go through the roof

Buyers are hungry to sink their teeth into the Clarence Valley

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

NEW HOME: Agents to the rescue for family of nine

RELIEF: Tanya Cone (middle) with her kids and McKimm's Real Estate property managers Regan Firth and Nadine Greenhalgh who helped find her family a home.

DEX article prompts property managers to help family find new home

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction