Federal Politics

Minister Mal Brough hands over documents to police relating to Slipper-Ashby case

Special Minister of State Mal Brough has confirmed he has handed over documents relating to the disclosure of former speaker Peter Slipper's diary after he was visited by Australian Federal Police officers at his home on Tuesday.

Labor MP Graham Perrett, who had written to the AFP about Mr Brough's role in the case, has questioned whether the Queensland MP should remain in the ministry while the matter is under investigation.

More News Videos

James Ashby home raided

RAW VISION: Federal police raid the Sunshine Coast home of James Ashby, a political staffer of former Member for Fisher, Peter Slipper.

"The Westminster system doesn't disintegrate if a minister steps down while they're being investigated. If you look back at the Westminster tradition, ministers have stood aside for less," Mr Perrett told Fairfax Media.

In a short statement on Thursday, Mr Brough, who is also the Minister for Defence Materiel and Science said: "I can confirm reports that the AFP visited me on Tuesday requesting any documentation relating to allegations involving the disclosure of diary notes of Mr Slipper."

Mal Brough, with fellow ministers Steven Ciobo and Jamie Briggs during question time last week.
Mal Brough, with fellow ministers Steven Ciobo and Jamie Briggs during question time last week. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

"I can also confirm that I provided the exact same material to the AFP as I previously provided to the Federal Court."

Speaking from APEC meetings in Manilla, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he has confidence in Mr Brough.

"Mr Brough has stated – and I've no reason to doubt him – that the material they've received is the same as has been already made public. 

"There's nothing new in that, there is an ongoing inquiry there and the answer is yes, I do have confidence in Mr Brough, but there are rules relating to ministers and cabinet ministers, but at this stage there's nothing to suggest that Mr Brough should stand aside or do anything of that kind. 

"Naturally he is providing complete cooperation with the investigation, as he should."

Advertisement

Police have been investigating the leak of Mr Slipper's diary's before a sexual harassment case was brought by former political staffer James Ashby in 2012.

On Tuesday police raided the Queensland homes of Mr Ashby and his parents and had search warrants that also named Industry Minister Christopher Pyne and assistant minister Wyatt Roy.

James Ashby outside the Federal Court in 2012.
James Ashby outside the Federal Court in 2012. Photo: Nic Walker

An extract of the warrant published by The Australian alleges Mr Brough "counselled and procured James Hunter Ashby…to disclose extracts from Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Peter Slipper's 2009 to 2012 official diary, and provide those extracts to third parties without authority".  

In his statement, Mr Brough said he had told the AFP he would be "happy to meet with them at any time in the future if need be" to discuss the claims.

Labor MP Graham Perrett has indicated Mr Brough should stand aside during the investigation.
Labor MP Graham Perrett has indicated Mr Brough should stand aside during the investigation. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

In September, the Nine Network's 60 Minutes featured a bulletin on the Slipper case.

Labor's Graham Perrett contacted the AFP the next day directing them to an interview Mr Brough had done for that program in which he was asked if he had requested Mr Ashby procure copies of the diary.

Mal Brough is sworn in as Special Minster of State  by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove in September.
Mal Brough is sworn in as Special Minster of State by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove in September. Photo: Andrew Meares

Mr Brough said that he had.   

Mr Perrett first took questions to the AFP back in 2012.

"He has obviously decided that he can stay in the role that has the most ethical oversight [in the ministry] while the AFP are raiding his home," Mr Perrett said on Thursday.

"I'm sure he's got extra advice from someone, even the PM perhaps.

"It's a strange set of circumstances."

With Matthew Knott

Follow us on Twitter