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



SUNDAY SAY: Where do the Bunya's grow?

The rough bark of the trunk of the Bunya. To get the cones naked young men climbed the Bunyas in the time-honoured way using vines for support.

Tree one of area's earliest plantings

Pacific Highway roadworks this week

Roadworks on the highway

Here's a list of all the spots where work will take place

SUNDAY SAY: The grass it can be greener

field of spring grass and forest

Short lawn not always the best

Local Partners

Un-American tale makes Lion weakest link in Oscars line-up

PSYCHOLOGY researchers find US films and actors most likely to win accolades at the Oscars.

Can rightful winner Midnight take out golden Gosling in Oscars?

Can Lion pip La La Land at the post in this year's Oscars? Sunny Pawar (pictured) helped bring a powerful film to the big screen.

WILL Aussie film Lion triumph or will popular La La Land prevail?

How to be spooky and sing like a man

Spooky Men's Chorale, looking a little less spooky, on Saturday morning at their masterclass.

A masterclass on how to be a spooky man (or woman).

Living End, Grinspoon stars hit stage for American Idiot

Chris Cheney of The Living End stars in the Australian production of Green Days musical American Idiot at Brisbane's QPAC Theatre.

TAKE a look behind the scenes of Green Day's American Idiot musical

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a scene from the movie La La Land.

Hollywood actor and Oscars voter says Denzel should win top gong

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Stunning home blends South Pacific beauty with Orient style

Immaculate residence with two outdoor living areas

Historic home 'Fairweather' up for action

Fairweather

Historic property owned for last 35 years up for sale

A piece of Clarence Valley heritage up for grabs

The historic house \"Ravensford\" located at 36 Villiers St in Grafton is currently on the market at McKimms Real Estate.

Take a look inside iconic home 'Ravenford'

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!