Special Minister for State and Fisher MP Mal Brough
Special Minister for State and Fisher MP Mal Brough Che Chapman

Brough has ministry, but the Slipper diary saga continues

HE MAY have earned an impressive promotion in the aftermath of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull taking power, but there are still clouds above Sunshine Coast MP and newly-minted minister Mal Brough.

The Fisher MP admitted in an interview with 60 Minutes last year that he was part of a plot to steal diary notes from then-Parliamentary Speaker and former Fisher MP Peter Slipper in 2012.

Mr Brough asked Mr Slipper's staffer James Ashby to make copies of the Speaker's private diary.

Mr Brough confirmed his part in the plan to 60 Minutes in September last year, saying his actions were justified because Mr Slipper had committed a crime.

The Guardian reports the AFP is still investigating Mr Brough's involvement.

"The AFP can confirm that it received a referral regarding the alleged unauthorised disclosure of Mr Slipper's diaries on 8 September 2014 and is investigating this matter," an AFP spokesperson told The Guardian.

"This investigation remains ongoing."
 

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Mr Slipper was  under scrutiny at the time for misusing travel entitlements, following a major investigation by Sunshine Coast Daily journalist Bill Hoffman.

Mr Slipper was found guilty of misusing Cabcharge vouchers.
 

DECISION DAY: Peter Slipper leaves the Canberra Magistrates Court.
DECISION DAY: Peter Slipper leaves the Canberra Magistrates Court.

In parallel, Mr Ashby had launched a sexual harrassment case against Mr Slipper, which was thrown out because the judge found it was "to pursue a political attack against Mr Slipper".

In February 2014, the Federal Court upheld an appeal by Mr Ashby against the earlier ruling.

As part of the court's decision, the judges included a view on Mr Brough's involvement:

"We are also of the opinion that there was no basis for the primary judge to conclude that Brough was part of any combination with anyone in respect to the commencement of these proceedings with the predominant purpose of damaging Slipper in the way alleged or at all."

Mr Slipper went on to win a legal fight to challenge his conviction in an Australian Capital Territory court.

Former Peter Slipper staffer James Ashby on Channel Nine's 60 Minutes
Former Peter Slipper staffer James Ashby on Channel Nine's 60 Minutes


The AFP investigation followed Mr Brough's admission on the Nine Network, which was referred to the authorities by Labor's Graham Perrett, a former Supreme Court solicitor.

Mr Brough's lawyer told the Guardian that the MP, now Special Minister of State, had no comment about the investigation and was yet to be approached by the AFP.

During an interview with ABC's Radio National on Tuesday, Mr Brough said the allegations were "a misunderstanding" and he would not "go back and canvass all these issues".



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