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Hockey calls for silence on Slipper allegations

Date
James Ashby

James Ashby

Senior coalition frontbencher Joe Hockey has called for an end to the public commentary over the sexual harassment accusations made against Speaker Peter Slipper.

''Frankly when there is an allegation of sexual harassment it should be left to the courts without all of this speculation around it and any attempts to to intimidate the staffer around it,'' Mr Hockey told ABC TV today.

James Hunter Ashby, a staffer in Mr Slipper's office, has lodged documents in the federal court accusing the Speaker of sexual harassment.

Mr Slipper, who is also being investigated over his use of Cabcharges, has stood aside as Speaker.

The Gillard government suspects a link to the opposition and has called on Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and house leader Christopher Pyne to explain what they knew about the allegations.

The National Times revealed on Friday that former Howard minister Mal Brough, who is seeking Liberal National Party preselection for Mr Slipper's Queensland seat of Fisher, had met Mr Ashby before he made allegations against Mr Slipper.

M Brough advised Mr Ashby and even organised his legal advice in the weeks before his legal claim was filed.

Overnight, Foreign Minister Bob Carr tweeted: ''This Ashby seems more rehearsed than a kabuki actor''.

Mr Hockey has hit out at the commentary and says the case should be left to the courts. He would not be drawn on the Brough issue.

''I'm appalled at the more recent comments from the foreign minister that seek to discredit the complainant,'' Mr Hockey said.

''I'm quite appalled at the debate going on at the moment, trying to treat this guy as a political football. It's got to stop.

''I'm not going to join in the speculation on this matter.''

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