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All the details you need to know about the James Ashby case.

James Ashby

 

 

 

James Ashby, the political staffer who made sexual harassment claims against former House of Representatives speaker Peter Slipper, has broken his silence.

In an explosive interview with 60 Minutes last night, Ashby also implicated Education Minister Christopher Pyne in a ‘plot’ to bring down Slipper, saying Pyne offered him a lawyer and assured him a job in state politics in exchange for going public with the harrassment claims.

Ashby, 35, alleges that his employer, Slipper, 64, sent him sexually explicit texts when he started working for him as a political adviser in 2010.  

While Ashby ultimately dropped the Federal Court case against Slipper in June, he renewed the harassment allegations in last night’s interview.

“Education minister Christopher Pyne came out of it looking like an utter fool.”

Ashby told 60 Minutes‘ Liz Hayes that he spoke to Liberal National Party MP Wyatt Roy about the harassment, and that Mr Roy subsequently spoke to Mr Pyne on his behalf.

Ashby told 60 Minutes he showed Roy the sexually explicit texts and that “he (Roy) was shocked. He didn’t know what to do”.

“He had no idea. And he said to me that he would have to ask someone else. And he suggested to me the only person he could trust was Christopher Pyne,” Ashby said.

Ashby told 60 Minutes, “Wyatt said to me, ‘Once I speak to Christopher I’ll get you the information, which will help you make that complaint.”

The former staffer said he went to Mr Pyne’s parliamentary office under the guise of collecting a bottle of wine, prior to lodging his sexual harassment complaint with the courts.

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“I remember the conversation didn’t last too long at all. We literally got up from his table, he (Pyne) walked me towards the door, he said to me, ‘You’re a braver man than I am,’ as we exited and said, “If you discuss or tell anyone we’ve had this discussion, I’ll be forced to come out publicly and call you a pathological liar.”

“I said to him (Pyne), ‘I just need to know that my job is safe and that a lawyer will be provided.

Peter Slipper.

“And he said they would.”

Ashby told 60 minutes that the deal he had struck for a job and a lawyer in exchange for going public, was later withdrawn.

Coalition frontbencher Pyne declined to be interviewed for 60 Minutes, but has previously insisted that the first he knew about the sex harrassment allegations was by reading the newspapers.

In a statement issued on Sunday night, Christopher Pyne denied having “specific knowledge” of the allegations made by Mr Ashby.

“All these matters have been aired over and over again for the last three years,” Mr Pyne said.

“I had no specific knowledge of the allegations made by Mr Ashby and the first I knew that he was suing Mr Slipper was when I read it in the newspapers. This is a dispute between two individuals – not a dispute that includes me or any other member of the government.”

Were you watching 60 Minutes last night? What did you think?