Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Slipper Phone Scandal; Speaker Chatted to Ashby about Staffer's Homosexual Life

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Slipper Phone Scandal; Speaker Chatted to Ashby about Staffer's Homosexual Life

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill Hoffman

SEX was a constant theme in text message conversations between Peter Slipper and a male staffer he employed on a $140,000 salary without first requiring a CV, but knowing he was gay.

James Ashby has accused the Speaker of sexual harassment while in his employ. The matter is before the Federal Court.

The release of hundreds of documents, including text messages between the pair dating back to early October last year, reveal a relationship that occupied a strange zone beyond that of either politics or work.

Mr Slipper and Mr Ashby engaged in long text message exchanges where the sexual orientation of Mr Ashby's friends and his sex life were discussed.

The Member for Fisher made it clear that he considered there was a majority of arednecksa on the Sunshine Coast.

He was concerned that Mr Ashby's sexual orientation might prove a barrier to his hopes of a career in politics.

In a text conversation on October 14 last year Mr Slipper asked Mr Ashby whether one of his friends was a homosexual.

SLIPPER: Is he gay?

ASHBY: Yeah.

On October 25 Mr Slipper returned to the subject.

SLIPPER: Bill he a drought breaker????

ASHBY: No neither of us feel rushing into anything would be a good idea. Slow and steady wins the race.

SLIPPER: Truly impressive restraint. Thought you would be in at first accommodation opportunity ha!!

ASHBY: Like a good army there's always tactics

SLIPPER: Yes but given your obvious charms thought Bill would have been keen to run up the white flag.

ASHBY: Charm haha. I'm just a single man.

SLIPPER: I did have a sweet view of Bill's surrender.

ASHBY: What's that mean?

SLIPPER: Just my vivid imagination and warped sense of humour :)

Then on October 28 in a text message the Member for Fisher returned to the subject.

SLIPPER: Did you lose your maidenhead again? …

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