Strawberry field was not forever for famous aide
THE sexual harassment case that brought ''shell-less mussels'' into Australia's vernacular and brought down a Speaker of Parliament began at a sprawling strawberry farm on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
Last year, James Ashby was working as a marketing manager at Gowinta Farms. It was the same farm sensationally targeted in May of the same year, when poison was discovered in a water tank less than a week before the first crop.
Fairfax Media does not suggest Mr Ashby was in any way involved. What is clear, however, is that the farm has generated Mr Ashby more than his 15 minutes of fame.
Mr Ashby met Valerie Bradford, a member of the Nationals and LNP at the farm, former Howard government minister Mal Brough later said. Mr Brough - who would play a starring role in Mr Ashby's life - said Ms Bradford convinced Mr Ashby to join the LNP.
In December 2011, Mr Ashby joined Peter Slipper's office and earned a reputation among Queensland's media for throwing a journalist's phone into bushes after being asked about Mr Slipper's expenses.