News

Regrets over frivolous texts but Mal stays mum on Ashby

Politicians boarded the public train to Brisbane to experience first hand the thoughts and feelings of users. Candidate for Fisher Mal Brough boards the train.
Politicians boarded the public train to Brisbane to experience first hand the thoughts and feelings of users. Candidate for Fisher Mal Brough boards the train. john mccutcheon

WE take a seat on a metal bench in the busy concourse of Central Station in Brisbane.

It is the first interview Mal Brough has given since being roundly condemned by a federal court judge in December for his involvement in the James Ashby affair.

So far, Mr Brough has been more than accommodating as we travelled on the train from Landsborough to the city.

He has mingled with commuters, politely listened to their concerns and raised issues he felt people should consider.

He has also been funny, impersonating a Queensland Rail voiceover, as if making the announcement people were waiting for about the train delay.

Six years out of parliament, he has not lost his political charisma.

But hanging over his head are the questions about his invovlement in the James Ashby saga that everyone has been trying to get him to answer.

The topic comes up innocently as we discuss the benefits of Tweeting, Facebooking and the dangers of sending a message that be on record forever.

"You send a frivolous message and in a couple of years time it could come back to haunt you," Mr Brough says.

I say, "Yes, we know too well how that has happened".

"The funny thing was the five texts (concerning his involvement with Ashby) were still there because I didn't delete them. I wouldn't have known how," he says casually.

It provides an opening to the Ashby saga and the Australian Federal Police investigation into whether he has breached three sections of the Criminal Code and Crimes Act.

He suggests there is "nothing to talk about".

"It's run its course," he says.

I bring up the series of questions a journalist from Australians For Honest Politics, among others, have been trying to get him to answer, which I whip out of my handbag.

"I have a list of questions for you from a concerned journalist," I say. "I've seen those questions," he says.

And then begins what will become his party line. "I've answered everything in relation to James Ashby."

I ask why he has not responded to requests for interviews. He suggests no one has asked.

"I am available on my mobile," he says.

This is true. My colleagues and I had no problems reaching him to arrange the train trip.

We leave further discussions till we get off the train. A crowded compartment is not the place.

Mr Brough is gracious, agreeing to talk privately at the metal bench at Central Station. We talk more about rail and then switch to a topic his body language shows he would rather avoid.

I ask if we can talk about Ashby.

"What's your question?" he says.

I say he has seen the questions sent in by the AFHP, so why won't he answer them?

"Peter Slipper is the ... has got to answer to the court on 16th or the 15th," he says, stumbling over his words until he finds his favourite line.

"The Ashby matter is still under appeal with Mr Slipper. I've said everything I have to say; there is nothing more I need to add.''

I ask whether he thinks it is something that should be addressed with an election campaign coming up.

"I have addressed, in full, my involvement with the matter and there is nothing further that I can add," he says.

I ask whether this (his addressing the matter) was before or after the judge specifically pointed fingers at him.

"The judge never pointed any…" He stops and then continues again. "I'm not going to go with the judge, the matter is before the appeal, I have nothing further to add."

I ask whether he will talk about it after the appeal, but it's a waste of time.

"The matter is before appeal, there is nothing further to add," he says again.

I ask if he thinks it could affect his chances of being elected.

"The matter is before appeal, I have nothing further to add," he repeats.

I say, "Come on", he has to accept people's concern about this issue.

He says, "That's it" and then adds the line once more: "The matter before appeal nothing further to add".

It is obvious Mr Brough is hoping his personality, his track record and the Coast love for the LNP will be enough to get him through.

Topics:  editors picks, james ashby, mal brough, peter slipper



Taste of the Caldera can be found in a glass of rum

Paul Messenger hand cuts the sugar cane to make Husk Distillers Rum.

This Tweed distiller is on the cutting edge of innovation.

Blood thicker than water for ex-Shark Wheeler

Mal Wheeler will be cheering son-in-law Blair on in Sunday's grand final. Blair is pictured scoring a try against Canberra in last weekend's preliminary final.

I have my shirt and beanie and they're both purple.

Blood thicker than water for ex-Shark Wheeler

Mal Wheeler will be cheering son-in-law Blair on in Sunday's grand final. Blair is pictured scoring a try against Canberra in last weekend's preliminary final.

I have my shirt and beanie and they're both purple.

Local Partners

Jay Z signs two-year movie and TV deal

Rapper Jay Z

Rapper Jay Z has signed a television and movie deal

Nowhere to Hyde: Matt Nable is Australia's man in demand

Matt Nable stars as Detective Gary Hyde in the TV series Hyde & Seek.

NABLE returns to the small screen amidst busy film work.

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E7: Manifest review

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E6: Suckas Need Bodyguards review

Rosario Dawson and Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E5: Just To Get A Rep review

Mahershala Ali, centre, in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E4: Step In The Arena review

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

Penthouse in beach paradise

Take in the beach front views from the balcony of 701/ 4-10 Douglas Street, Kirra.

This beachfront penthouse is the perfect place to enjoy the views.

Casuarina sets the benchmark in Tweed market

Our property market is as strong as it's been since the crisis

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record