Perrett urges AFP to investigate #Ashby now, adds Abetz to list



By Margo Kingston
March 20, 2013


Graham Perrett has written to the AFP demanding it resume its investigation into possible criminal activity surrounding the court action by James Ashby against the then Speaker of the House of Representatives Peter Slipper.

He has also added Liberal Senator Eric Abetz to  the list of people the AFP should investigate for possible involvement in an alleged conspiracy to abuse the judicial system to bring down the government, referring to an email provided by a member of the public.

On December 21 last year Mr Perrett referred Mal Brough, Christopher Pyne, Julie Bishop, James Ashby and Karen Doane to the AFP.

On February 14, the AFP said by letter it would not investigate until Mr Ashby’s application for leave to appeal, to be heard in May, was finalised.

The appeal concerns the correctness of Justice Rares dismissal of Mr Ashby’s case as an abuse of Court process. It does not concern any criminal activity before the case was lodged in Court, including the alleged theft of Mr Slipper diary.

Mr Perrett told AFHP: ‘This is not a situation for caution – this is a process that can only benefit by speed in investigation because the days are counting down to an election in which the good character of the players is a big issue. Time is of the essence and the investigation of possible criminal offences is completely different to the issue in the appeal.’

‘When Mr Brough opens a campaign office two doors down from Mr Slipper that is a statement by the Liberal Party that Mr Brough has done nothing wrong. I believe he is a conspirator in an plan to bring down the elected government and that he has no respect for our democratic institutions.’


Letter from Graham Perrett MP to AFP Commissioner Mr Tony Negus
19 March 2013

Mr Tony Negus
Australian Federal Police
GPO Box 401

Dear Tony,

Re: Conspiracy against Peter Slipper and Potential Commission of Criminal Offences

1. I refer to a letter from Commander Errol Raiser dated 14th February 2013 received by
my office on 26th February 2013 wherein the Australian Federal Police states that it
will ‘suspend its evaluation of the matter’ until after the outcome of the appeal by
Mr James Ashby’s lawyer Mr Michael Harmer ‘has been finalised’.

2. Commander Raiser advises that this evaluation of allegations that the Honourable
Mal Brough {“Mr Brough”), the Honourable Christopher Pyne MP (“Mr Pyne”), the
Honourable Julie Bishop MP (“Ms Bishop”), Queensland Minister the Honourable
Mark McArdle (“Mr McArdle”) or Ms Karen Doane (“Ms Doane”) were engaged in a
criminal conspiracy to destroy Peter Slipper and bring down the Federal
Government, will at the very least be delayed until after the Leave to Appeal is heard
by the Federal Court on the scheduled date of 30th May 2013.

3. In my submission, it is neither appropriate nor desirable for evaluation of the
criminal allegations against Mr Brough and others to be unnecessarily delayed while
this appeal is resolved. Not only because the full resolution of this matter could
potentially be very lengthy, but primarily because the task to be undertaken by the
Full Bench of the Federal Court is completely different from the work ofthe
Australian Federal Police in investigating any criminal conduct arising from Mr
Ashby’s now discredited allegations against Mr Slipper. Consequently it is therefore
essential for the Australian Federal Police investigation to continue independently of
the progression, or not, of the appeal proceedings.

4. At the time of writing I note that on 11th January 2013 Mr James Ashby’s lawyer Mr
Scott Freidman of Harris Freidman lawyers applied for leave to appeal the judgement
of Justice Rares. Furthermore, I note that on 14th January 2013, Mr Ashby’s former
lawyer also filed an application for leave to appeal Justice Rares’ judgment but did so
in his own right and without any instructions from Mr Ashby.

5. It is my understanding that the 30th May 2013 is actually the scheduled date for the
costs hearing in the original Slipper matter (Federal Court reference: NSD580/2012)
and that the Harmer and Ashby leave matters (Federal Court references:
NSD22/2013 and NSD31/2013) are scheduled to be heard by the full federal court by
their honours Mansfield, Siopis and Gilmore on the 2nd May 2013 and 3rd May 2013.

6. At the time of writing, the Federal Court Registry has not received any application
from Mr Brough, Mr Pyne, Ms Bishop, Mr McArdle or Ms Doane seeking leave to
appeal the judgement of Justice Rares.

7. As I detailed in my letter dated 20th December 2012, I sought an immediate
investigation into whether Mr Brough, Mr Pyne, Ms Bishop, Mr McArdle, Mr Ashby
and Ms Doane had committed criminal offences in relation to their participation in a
political conspiracy designed to harm the Honourable Peter Slipper MP and the
Federal Government, as laid out in the Federal Court decision dated 12th December
2012 by Justice Rares.

8. The Full Bench of the Federal Court will be asked to review the trial judgment and
determine whether His Honour Justice Rares erred in finding that Mr Ashby’s
allegations against Mr Slipper were brought for a collateral political purpose and not
to ventilate any legitimate legal complaint. The Court will base its review on
evidence and argument that was relied upon by the parties to the original claim,
together with any new material that the parties may place before the Court. The
appeal will be resolved as between the parties to the proceeding, Mr Slipper and Mr
Ashby, and will determine their rights and liabilities according to principles of civil

9. As Mr Ashby is the only one of the aforementioned parties who has sought leave to
appeal Justice Rares’ decision, I ask you to reconsider the decision by the Australian
Federal Police to suspend evaluation of this very serious matter for at least several
months. Moreover, in light of the seriousness of the findings of fact in Justice Rares’
December 2012 decision, there is an argument that the time for “eva luating” has
long since passed and that in the interests of justice, investigations should now be
advanced expeditiously.

10. I repeat the fact that in Justice Rares’ decision he reached a “firm conclusion” that
the “predominant purpose” of Mr Ashby’s sexual harassment claim against Mr
Slipper was to “pursue a political attack against Mr Slipper” designed to “tip the
Government to Mal’s (Brough] and the LNP’s advantage”.

11. It is my submission to you that the role of the Australian Federal Police in
investigating the criminal allegations which I raised with Commissioner Negus in
December 2012 is completely different, and it is appropriate that this continue
independently of the civil appeal.

12. The Australian Federal Police possesses investigative powers to inquire into the
allegations I have raised and determine whether the individuals referred to in my
correspondence, or anybody else, has committed any criminal offences. My referral
relates to a much broader group of people than those involved in the civil
proceedings currently before the Federal Court, and is supported by a much broader
range of evidence to that which will be considered by the Court as it conducts its
appeal hearing. However, the Australian Federal Police will form a view about the
lawfulness of the conduct of Mr Brough and others based on the principles of
criminal law.

13. Nothing arising in the civil appeal can fetter the powers of the Australian Federal
Police in identifying whether any criminal offences have been committed, and
whether any such offences should be referred to the Commonwealth Director of
Public Prosecutions for prosecution. As well, nothing arising in the Australian
Federal Police investigation can possibly prejudice the conduct of the appeal before
the Full Federal Court. In all these circumstances, it is neither appropriate nor
desirable to postpone evaluation ofthe very serious criminal allegations contained
within my referral, and the better course of conduct is to proceed immediately with
evaluation of those criminal allegations.

14. Whilst I recognise the caution behind the Australian Federal Police’s decision to wait
three months before you recommence your evaluations, I also wish to stress the
pressing seriousness of this whole matter; the risks associated with any delay; and
the benefits of your officers investigating in a t imely manner.


15. The conspiracy and accompanying behaviour towards Mr Slipper could constitute
causing him harm in his capacity as a Commonwealth public official, contrary to
s147.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (“the Criminal Code”) and all the
aforementioned involved parties other than Mr Ashby may still be liable as either
principals or accessories pursuant to Part 2.4 of the Criminal Code (Extension of
criminal responsibility).

16. Mr Brough’s unauthorised access to Mr Slipper’s official diary might be classified as
conduct classified as unauthorised access to restricted data contrary to s478.1 of the
Criminal Code, and unauthorised disclosure of information by Commonwealth
officers contrary to s70 ofthe Crimes Act 1914.

17. There are serious penalties attached to the abovementioned crimes. As Mr Pyne
and Ms Bishop are serving members of parliament; Mr McArdle a Minister of the
Crown in Queensland; and Mr Brough is currently a federa l candidate, any possible
or potential criminality on their part is of especial significance and would have
ramifications for the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth parliament
and the makeup of the government of Queensland.


18. I also refer to the additional information sent to my office by a member of the public
and subsequently provided to the Australian Federal Police by my office via email
regarding Mr Pyne’s suggested involvement in the conspiracy. The email referred to
a Liberal-National Party fundraising event on the Sunshine Coast where the principal
guest was the Leader of the Coalition in the Senate, Senator the Honourable Eric

19. I note from Justice Rares decision that Mr Ashby engaged in an exchange of SMS
messages with Ms Peta Simpson on 3rd February 2012, which indicates that Mr
Ashby had agreed to the “deal” discussed with Mr McArdle. Ms Simpson is a senior
Sunshine Coast member of the Liberal-National Party and a close associate of the
Leader of the Coalition in the Senate, Senator the Honourable Eric Abetz.

20. Shortly after Mr Pyne’s meetings with Mr Ashby in late March 2012, on or around 4th
April 2012, Senator the Hon. Eric Abetz, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate,
visited the Sunshine Coast and met with Ms Peta Simpson. Ms Simpson appears to
have been in regular contact with Mr Ashby about the “deal” he had been offered by
Liberal-National Party figures in exchange for bringing the sexual harassment claim
against Mr Slipper.

21. Therefore, Mr Abetz’s role in the conspiracy, along with the aforementioned parties
also should be investigated in a timely manner to determine whether any criminal
offences have occurred, and to subsequently refer the matter to the Director of
Public Prosecutions, where appropriate.


22. There are significant risks associated with any delay because of the possibility of the
destruction of diaries, computer hard drives and any other incriminating
documentation associated with the preparation and planning of the conspiracy.

23. In my submission, time is of the essence. Not only might delay lead to the
destruction or disappearance of vital evidence it is important that the Australian
Federal Police investigation is resolved prior to the September 14 Federal election. If
Mr Brough, Mr Pyne or Ms Bishop are to be charged, this should announced well in
advance of the election, to allow the Liberal National Party to consider their preselection
and to allow the electors of their seats to cast a fully informed ballot. If Mr
Brough, Mr Pyne or Ms Bishop are charged, and later convicted, of any offence
punishable by more than 12 months imprisonment, they would be disqualified from
sitting as a Member of the House of Representatives by operation of s 44(ii) of the
Australian Constitution. It is essential that these possibilities are resolved prior to
the election, in the interests of the electors of Fisher, Sturt and Curtin.

24. As there are less than six months until the scheduled date for the next federal
election and both Mr Slipper and Mr Brough are candidates for the same federal
seat, it is only fair that both the Australian public and the voters of Fisher know if
there is likely to be any criminal charges brought against their candidates.

25. Furthermore, I am advised that Mr Brough has opened his campaign office only two
doors away from Mr Slipper’s electorate office. This can only be interpreted by the
voters of Fisher as a deliberate and provocative act by Mr Brough.

26. Furthermore, I am advised that local schools and community groups have not invited
Mr Slipper to events in his electorate because he is under investigation. However,
on the other hand, they have invited Mr Brough to local events because he is a
candidate. Any delay in resolving the investigation into the conspiracy only further
hampers Mr Sl ipper’s ability to represent his electorate and fairly present his bona
fides to the electorate of Fisher on the 14th September 2013.

27. Justice would dictate that the names of both candidates for the next election must
be investigated and cleared, in a timely manner.

28. I also wish to take this opportunity to bring to your attention further compelling
evidence which links the highest echelons of the Federal Coa lition to the conspiracy
to destroy Mr Sl ipper and bring down the Federal Government. In my original
correspondence to Commissioner Negus, I noted that it was possible the “Murray”
referred to repeatedly in text messages between Mr Ashby and Ms Doane was in
fact Mr Murray Hansen, long-time Chief of Staff to Julie Bishop, Deputy Leader of the
Opposition. In that correspondence, I noted that Mr Hansen had well established
links with the Sunshine Coast, and was rumored to be friends with Peta Simpson, the
Sunshine Coast Liberal and National Party Branch Member and former Liberal and
National Party pre-selection candidate for the Federal Seat of Fisher.

29. Is there any evidence in the mainstream or social media which supports or
establishes any links or friendship between Mr Hansen and Ms Simpson? You will
recall that Ms Simpson was apparently central in negotiating the “deal” that Mr
Ashby and Ms Doane would be offered by the Liberal and National Party to
participate in the conspiracy against Mr Slipper. Mr Hansen has had a long-time role
as an adviser to the Federal Coalition and has well established links with the
Sunshine Coast and South East Queensland. In my opinion, the Australian Federal
Police should concentrate investigations to determine whether the “Murray”
referred to by Mr Asbhy and Ms Doane as an avenue to employment with the
Federal Coalition as part of the “deal” offered to them to participate in the
conspiracy to bring down the Government, was in fact Mr Murray Hansen.


30. In the interests of efficiency, timeliness and thoroughness it would be strategic to
commence investigations into Mr Pyne, Ms Bishop, Mr McArdle, Mr Abetz, Ms
Simpson and Mr Brough, while at the same time leaving aside Mr Ashby’s role in the
matter until after the Federal Court has made a decision as to whether his leave to
appeal will be granted.

31. Consequently, I again ask the Australian Federal Police to urgently conduct a formal
investigation to determine whether Mr Brough, Ms Bishop, Mr Pyne, Mr McArdle,
Ms Doane, Eric Abetz, and/or any others, have committed any criminal offences. I
ask the Australian Federal Police to prepare a Brief of Evidence for referral to the
Director of Public Prosecutions {DPP), if appropriate.
32. I would urge the Australian Federal Police to proceed with its investigation
immediately, especially given the risk of disappearance of vital evidence and
relevance to the choice faced by electors in Fisher, Sturt and Curtin at the imminent
Federal Election.

33. Undoubtedly, because of the political nature of this case, there has been significant
media and public interest in the Australian Federal Police’s handling of this case.
Whilst I only seek justice in this matter, I am also very well aware that I write to you
as member of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party Caucus at a time of highly
charged political circumstances whilst there is a minority government. Nevertheless,
I will continue to make our correspondence available to the public and the media,
unless you request otherwise with good reason. However, I also give an undertaking
to not reveal the names of any individual Australian Federal Police officers who
progress this matter. I assume that they too would not wish to be harangued and
harassed by members of the public and media who are interested in the progress of
this important investigation.

Thank you once again for taking the time to investigate this very serious matter.

Yours sincerely,

Graham Perrett MP

Federal Member for Moreton

CC Commander Errol Raiser
Manager Special References
GPO Box 401

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  1. Maureen Searson says

    Thank you Margo for posting a copy Mr Perrett’s letter to the AFP. I cannot say how much I am hoping that Graham Perrett is successful in his necessary pursuit of justice. Thanks for the great work you are doing in presenting the facts, and hoping, for democracy’s sake, that the truth will be revealed!

  2. Reblogged this on iheariseeilearn.

  3. Joy Cooper says

    This warrants a rapid response from the AFP even if just to show they are truly impartial in this matter. So far there does seem to be some cause for concern.

    Thank you Graham Perrett for taking this action. Hopefully it will shed light on the whole tawdry AshbyGate affair & its active participants.

  4. Ana Milosevic says

    Sooner the better!

  5. Sandra Searle (@SandraSearle) says

    Thank you once again Margot. Just hope that the AFP will act and act sooner than later.
    I just can’t believe that this matter has been so badly shoved under the carpet.
    What a travesty to democracy in this country.
    We should all be baying for blood (the truth of this affair).

  6. sulphurcrested says

    Bravo Graham Perrett, well done and thank you.

    Thanks Margo for publishing this.

    Graham Perrett is right to mention the public interest in this matter. I hope the AFP also understand their investigation will be of great interest and concern to many.

  7. Geraldine Freeman says

    Take a bow Margo for publishing. Thankyou Graham Perrett. You have a lot of supporters in you fight for the public interest, and democracy in this country.

  8. Surely Mr. Perrett M.P. should also be applying to the Australian Electoral Commission to write to the AFP insisting that Mr. Perrett’s claims be investigated.

    After all the AEC must also be assured that there are no outstanding Court claims on Mal Brough that could render any Federal Ballot at the 2013 election null and void if he was convicted.

  9. Alan - Gold Coast says

    Don’t expect the AFP to do anything…they don’t want to be seen to be playing politics….. despite the fact that their non-action is in itself a political decision. In Australia, governments, State and Federal, do not generally give directions to police to carry out investigations or operations. That imposes on the operational independence of the relavant Commissioner. Something they jealously guard. I know many will say this is not so, but in reality, it is the way things are done in policing.

    Police will conduct investigations ino matters against suspets whilst the are on going criminal trials are being run on separate matters against the suspects. Civil cases do not impact in any way on the capacity of police to investigate criminal offences. If the AFP say so, it is a cop out.(sic) and a pretty gutless move.

    In the end the AFP hierarchy have to make a decision about this investigation, either way it will be a political decision. In the end it is their integrity at stake as well as that of Slipper and Brough and Ashby. At the moment the AFP is appearing shaky in the integrity stakes on this one.

    It is about time the AFP Commissioner did his duty or faced up to an interview on why he can’t or won”t investigate this matter. Be prepared for a return to Bullshit Mountain.

    • SadlyJF, I share your cynicism. But a proactive move by Perrett and good on Margo for publishing. least those that read the real news know what’s going on.
      See you tomm over at Fairfax, someones gotta do it.

  10. Thanks Margo for your hard work and thanks to you also Gold Coast-Alan for clarity.

  11. Joy Cooper says

    I see a troll, who didn’t have the guts to post & thus remains anonymous, has been through last night & given everyone (except The Doctor) a Thumbs Down. That is so childish.

  12. i hope mr perrett dashes around to oakeshots office and ask him why this story in not on the front pages of our media
    if not why not, mr oaekshott

    • What does Oakeshott have to do with it? He is not in control of any media. You would be better advised to demand action from Rupert Murdoch.

  13. david linehan says

    All strength to Graeme Perrett in his pursuit of justice.