Perhaps the Ashbygate loose ends are being tidied up by the Federal police?


On 2nd April 2013 I wrote an article in Independent Australia called “Ashbygate loose Ends”. It was an attempt to tidy up the loose ends of the Ashby Slipper Saga and to show what Questions still needed to be answered.

Let’s remember the case……
The Complaint of Sexual harassment by Ashby against Slipper had been filed with the Federal court on 20th April 2012 after Ashby had been working for Slipper Since late December 2011. He claimed that he was sexual harassed when he stayed in Slipper’s abode in Canberra in the first week in January 2012. Allegedly it continued later that month and by the beginning of March 2012, Ashby sought help about these sexual harassment claims apparently from Julie Bishop’s office. They are described in this Newspaper article when Bishop disclosed them to the Press. That article was written on 12 December in a News Ltd paper. She is quoted as saying

About a month before the story broke he contacted my office,” Ms Bishop said.

So the story broke on 21st April 2012 and a month before that is around the week beginning/ ending 19th March to 23rd March 2012. We can reasonably assume that it happened in this week, which was the last sitting week before the Easter break.
This information about the contact with Bishop’s office was actually in the Fairfax press on May 7th 2012 17 days after the application was filed in the federal Court. This reveals that the Staffer (Ashby) actually was in touch with her office twice. But it doesn’t state when the second contact was.
The Second contact date is revealed by the ABC in Mark Colvin’s program, which confirm’s the first March date and gives the second date as early April.
LEXI METHERELL: On Sky News, Julie Bishop was asked about phone calls from James Ashby to her office in March and April.
This information was revealed on 14th December 2012.
Other background information which is interesting is that the details of the court case and it’s David and Goliath nature were dribbled out in witness affidavit’s, submissions and judgements from 20th April 2012 to 9th October 2012. Justice Rares dismissal of the case for abuse of process happened on 12th December 2012.
That judgement was then appealed and a further Judgement allowing that leave to appeal and the actual appeal was granted on 27th February 2014. So Ashby could continue with his case of Sexual harassment. However he dropped the case (reported June 18th 2014)
The final thing to decide were costs. They were decided in Slippers favour in April 2016. After all how could you reasonably ask for costs after dropping a case?
On 12th May 2016, the Federal Police are asking the Federal Court for access to certain information from the case in their investigation of the alleged possible criminal Behaviour of Ashby, Doane, Brough and Lewis.

The Looser of the loose ends

Julie Bishop is on record as saying that Ashby contacted her office about a month before it all became public. But she also said he contacted her office in April as well.
Now this is very curious. I asked myself why would he want to do that? The question comes from a re-examination (in detail) of the evidence on the federal court site. I said it was dribbled out and the dribbling was about abuse of process. There are so many affidavits which contain information, that it is always a good idea to place the actual facts into a timeline and then evaluate that. So I did. Over a period of two weeks I went through the evidence (1700 pages) and wrote a comprehensive fully referenced timeline of what actually happened. Of course it is incomplete because the pivotal document (the Annexure to Michael Harmer’s statement posted on the Federal court website) is incomplete. This annexure contains all of the messages (which Harmer’s Lawyer’s saw fit to include) to and from Ashby and various people he messaged.
Around many of the Interesting bits which go to the criminal matters the AFP are looking into (I imagine) are these missing SMS messages. Who are they to? and what do they say? The forensic file of Ashby’s phone will also show who he called. There lies the nub of the matter; in the times and dates and possibly the duration of what transpired.
These details would be very informative information. Apparently they cannot be released because they were not led in evidence.
However my timeline investigation also reveals some more questions about the information above which Julie Bishop stated to journalists.

An examination of some extra pertinent details
We know that the last week in parliament before the Easter break in 2012, (19th to 22nd March) was very interesting when looking at this case.

Monday 19th March 2012.

In the Evening, Christopher Pyne met with Ashby in Peter Slipper’s Speakers office for just under 2 hours. Afterwards, Pyne asked Ashby for his email address and then lies about that to the press. Changing his story several times.

Tuesday 20th March 2012
On this day Ashby may have had contact with Julie Bishop’s office. See above.

Wednesday 21st March 2012
On this day Ashby may have had contact with Julie Bishop’s office. See above.

Thursday 22nd March 2012
On this day Ashby visited Pyne’s office to pick up a bottle of wine signed by Tony Abbott for an ex staffer of Peter Slipper. Why was it in Pyne’s office and not Tony Abbott’s?
Parliament rises for the Easter Break

Friday 23rd March 2012.
Ashby said he received a call from Wyatt Roy at 1.35pm on this day and his diary entry states
“With Solicitor’s number name and email” This is from the Channel nine 60 minutes program on 7 September 2015
At 2.45pm the diary also states that Brough and Ashby meet for several hours. The excuse he used to Peter Slipper for not being able to be contacted was that he was in a meeting at Coloundra Airport.

Saturday 24th March 2012
Queensland State Election day when Labor’s Anna Bligh was defeated by Campbell Newman and the LNP

Sunday 25th March 2012

Monday 26th March 2012
Ashby SMS at 12.12pm to Mark McArdle
Yeah you did a great job. I’ve decided to
press ahead with what I spoke to u about
some weeks ago. It’s going to be the
biggest challenge of my life, but this man
needs stopping. He’s hurt too many
people. I appreciate your comments about
not doing it, but I have the strength to go
thru with it and regardless of the outcome I
know I’ll have done the right thing. I have
no doubt we’ll chat soon.

Tuesday 27th March 2012
Doane “feeling awful” and wants to chat to Ashby.

Wednesday 28th March 2012
Ashby asks Doane to copy Peter Slipper’s diary. For a much more detailed description of the evidence please see my blogs.
The proposed trial of the Ashbygate Conspirators. and
So Mal Turnbull wants to talk about innovation? I was to talk about Mal Brough and Evidence.

Thursday 29th March 2012
15004 Karen Doane Your day to exhale is hopefully on the
horizon 😊 I’ve allowed
myself the luxury of a cry as I’m hope
alone and resting. All good in the hood. If
you hear any more from Jackie or Murray,
let me know. Curious of course
29/03/2012 2:00:31 AM UTC
12:00:31 PM AEST Read
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)
NOTE Jackie and Murray are mentioned. Who are they? The Federal Police will know if they are given access to Ashby’s phone records.
Ashby replies
15005 Karen Doane Yeah I forgot to call Murray last night. The
alcohol took me away unfortunately. Time
to lay off the grog and just focus on the job
ahead. Can’t mask feelings forever.
29/03/2012 2:02:12 AM UTC
12:02:12 PM AEST Sent
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)
Doane also thought they were meeting with Jackie this evening but Ashby forgot to call as he had drunk too much
He calls Jackie and this is the result.
15015 Karen Doane Jackie is keen to meet at 10:00am
tomorrow with the two of us. U ok for that?
29/03/2012 4:52:23 AM UTC
2:52:23 PM AEST Sent
(REF 1 page 240/247/265)
According to the affidavit of David Russell QC. Brough rang him “On a day, which I believe (but cannot be absolutely certain) was around 29 March 2012, I received a telephone call from Mr Brough.”
Later that evening starting at 9.33pm Ashby sends 3 diary pages to Brough by SMS
Brough says they are hard to read and can they be emailed and gives his email address. Mal.brough2@bigpond,com.
Ashby then proceeded to email the three diary pages to him.

Friday 30th March 2012.
Meeting with Doane, Ashby, Jackie and Brough about what we don’t know but the SMS messages confirm they did meet and that Jackie organised a Barrister for $1. Also (that Brough was at that meeting) confirmed in an Email sent by Doane to Brough and revealed by the Subpoena Doane had to answer from the Federal court case.
15037 Glen Nambour Yeah all good. I’m hopeful this all comes
out within 2 weeks. I’m over the suspense
and not having a lawyer to back me right
now. My new lawyer is back in a week. O
30/03/2012 3:08:10 AM UTC
1:08:10 PM AEST Sent
(REF 1 page 242/249/265)

Later in messages talking about Jobs Doane says:-

15049 Karen Doane I hear ya…. I encourage you to contact
Murray ( Marie😉. You
need to keep everyone onside and have
options. Not sure if State will be your
future, or that you’ll want it to be, so the
more options the better. I really want the
Sports portfolios that is my passion and I
know it on many levels so I would be
perfect ( even if I do say so myself) when
you get to it, please send thru Jackie’s
email info. I’ll cc you into anything. Chat
soon 😏
30/03/2012 9:51:20 AM UTC
7:51:20 PM AEST Read
(REF 1 page 244/251/265)

Doane also asks Ashby for Mal Brough’s email in message 15057
15057 Karen Doane 30/03/2012
11:29:20 AM UTC (Device)
9:29:20 PM AEST Sent
(REF 1 page 244/251/265)
He gives it incorrectly as It should be

Saturday 31st March 2012
Nothing of particular note.

Sunday 1st April 2012.
Doane is unable to contact Brough by email and tells Ashby who made a mistake with the number and corrects it mal.brough2@bigpond,com in message 15102.
I also believe this was the day that Brough met with Clive Palmer to ask him to fund Ashby’s court costs.

So who was Jackie?

Whilst the preceeding exchange about email addresses seems very boring and innocuous. They are far from that. In the Ashbygate Loose Ends article I wrote in 2013, I asked the Question. “Who was Jackie?” and proposed that it might be Jackie Kelly. However in his 60 minutes interview, Ashby said Jackie was “code” for Mal Brough. Why then, I must ask, has Doane asked on the same day for two different email addresses. One for Jackie which appears not to have been answered and one for Brough, later in the same day which was answered incorrectly and corrected two days later. These two requests were asked at 7.51pm (Jackie’s email details) and 9.59 pm (Brough’s email details) on the same day. I will leave it up to you to decide whether the 60 minutes interview was false and misleading or not.
You will also notice that we have reached the month of April and I must now return to some scrutiny of the contact that Julie Bishop’s Office had with Ashby in that month.

Several Question spring to mind.

So Why would Ashby have any purpose to ring Julie Bishop’s office?

1/ Which office did Ashby call.
The Parliamentary office of Julie Bishop in Canberra had closed for the Easter break So her only open office was her electorate office in Western Australia.
2/ Why would Ashby call Julie Bishop’s office in Western Australia? Who would he know from there?
He could never have called it on Sunday 1st April as it would have been shut. However it would have been open (presumably on Mon 2nd, Tue 3rd Wed 4th and Thurs 5th) and closed on Friday 6th which was good Friday and that is the day he met with David Russell QC at his private residence for a charge of $1.
Monday 2nd April. 2012.
Interesting developments on Monday evening with Ashby talking to Steve Lewis from News Ltd.
SMS to Doane.
15116 Karen Doane Just had the most lengthy convo with
Steve Lewis. He’s flying up Wednesday.
Wanna come to coffee with him?
2/04/2012 11:07:10 AM UTC
9:07:10 PM AEST Sent
(REF1 page 249/256/265)

15117 Karen Doane Okay… I’m calling you now!!
2/04/2012 11:11:06 AM UTC
9:11:06 PM AEST Read
(REF 1 page 249/256/265)
Tuesday 3rd April 2012.
SMS messages between Doane and Ashby seem to indicate that he doesn’t have a Solicitor yet.
15122 Karen Doane I want to balance your harassment charge
with one of my own. He is demeaning,
aggressive and w his bcc’s unprofessional
at the very least. However I don’t want to
diminish your claim in any way. As you
said last night, both claims may strengthen
the case. I might look for a lawyer myself if
we don’t have contact soon.
2/04/2012 8:52:58PM UTC
3/04/2012 6:52:58 AM AEST
(REF 1 page 250/257/265)

15123 Karen Doane Yeah I will contact Mal again today. Failing
that I will make contact with someone
myself as well.
2/04/2012 8:54:07PM UTC
3/04/2012 6:54:07 AM AEST
(REF 1 page 250/257/265)
Yet in the 60 minutes interview he said he had been given a Solicitors number by Wyatt Roy and had since had a meeting with Brough, Jackie and Doane about seeing a barrister for $1 who is influential in the LNP.
So does he have a Solicitor or not? Would this be a reason to contact the Office of Julie Bishop? Along with Jackie a “Murray” is mentioned. Is this Murray Hansen, who is Julie Bishop’s Chief of Staff? And he is the “office” that Ashby called? He by the way apparently lives in Brisbane about an hour and a half’s drive away from the Sunshine Coast.

No wonder the Federal police want access to data on Ashby’s phone which according to proceedings on 12th April 2016 no longer exists. That would tell them who Jackie is (If Ashby rang her or emailed her) and who Murray is (if her rang him or emailed him). Because the forensic expert who downloaded the data from the phone, downloaded it all.
Wednesday 4th April 2012.
This is the day when Steve Lewis made a plane flight to the Sunshine Coast and met with Doane and Ashby. They meet at 12 noon at 5 grand Parade Perrarra
Thursday 5th April 2012.
On this day Ashby goes to a doctor and obtains a medical certificate which is for 2 weeks from 10/4/2012 to 22/4/2012 for an unspecified Medical Condition.
Friday 6th April 2012. (Good Friday)
At 10am Ashby, Doane and Brough meet with David Russell at his home on the Sunshine coast. He tells Russell that he has engaged Harmers in Sydney.
So I ask the Question once again. Why would Ashby need to call Julie Bishop’s office in April?
He had the Name, phone number and email address of a Solicitor on 23rd March from Wyatt Roy apparently, but don’t forget that he also said that “Jackie” was code for Mal Brough which can be clearly shot down in flames as suspect. If he had a Solicitor on that day then there is no need to call Julie Bishop’s staff at all because the Solicitor can tell him all about the Laws relating to misuse of cab charges and advise what he should do there. The solicitor should also be able to tell him about civil matters such as Sexual harassment and his remedies there.

Why he needed to go and see a Barrister is confusing. Which Lawyer was instructing the Barrister? I always thought they needed to be referred to people through a practicing solicitor. Brough hasn’t got a legal bone in his body. (or any Legal qualifications). Are you confused yet? I am.

What is clear is that a series of Liberal Party elected parliamentarians (apart from Peter Slipper) are heavily involved in this.
Just in case you had forgotten.

They are:-

Christopher Pyne, Liberal Member for Sturt. Who’s supposed to have offered Ashby a job.

Malcolm Brough, Member for Fisher and during the time of the complaint candidate for Fisher

Mark McArdle  Queensland MP and previous shadow Attorney-General and Shadow
Minister for Justice who was consulted on an ongoing basis by Ashby.
Also a qualified Solicitor.

Warren Entsch. The Member for Leichart and chief Whip at the time.
Who wanted to warn Abbott the night before it all was revealed but
Could not get in touch with him.

Wyatt Roy The member for Longman. Who allegedly supplied the Name Phone number
and email address of a Solicitor to help Ashby.

And Last but not least

Julie Bishop, Member for Curtin and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party.
All of these people need to explain in detail what they knew of this affair. because they haven’t yet. Four years down the track.


By Vince O'Grady

Vince emigrated to Australia in 1978 from the United Kingdom, where he was a Police Constable in Brierley Hill, on the outskirts of Birmingham in the West Midlands. He saw a great deal of dysfunctional society during his four-and-a-half years’ Police service and realised the necessity of always being truthful, factual and slow to judge others. Deciding to pursue a different career in Australia, he chose telecommunications and has worked in sales, product and marketing management in the public and private sectors. In 1981, he became ill with arthritis and ceased full-time work in 1992, when he became a sessional teacher at TAFE in a number of subjects — mainly related to manufacturing. During the Howard years, he became interested in politics and after “hiding in plain sight” for many years, joined the Labor party in 2010. Vince has many interests, including social justice, inclusion and the good old Australian “fair go” for all. He has policy interests in economics and education. His interest in history shows that we make the same mistakes over and over again and hopes to make a difference to the political debate by clear thinking and analysis rather than by trite sloganeering. In his private life, Vince enjoys woodwork and also is a keen family historian, with a very Irish paternal side and a very French Huguenot maternal side — and is a mixture of a working class and an upper middle class upbringing. He has a Bachelors degree in Business and qualifications in Workplace Training and Assessing. He is also a keen home brewer of fine ales — at least according to his son!


  1. Congratulation again Vince,

    Heaves what a complicated web we weave when we first try to deceive ! A net of only Liberal deceivers exposed and “shitting on eachother” . They must be exposed now and not slip away into the oblivion of “that’s old history “usual defence [tell Julia that!] – there is much more to the good governance of Australia than to allow these abusers to get away with this.

  2. Thanks for your comment Buderim lawyer. This is only a small part of the intrigue which this case is riddled with.

    The key to unlocking a lot of the Questions are partially in Ashby’s phone which apparently could not just be applied for for a fee because they had not been actually adjudicated as evidence before the Federal Court.

    This case contains a lot of anomalies.

    1/ The swift time it took for Ashby to complain about Slipper
    2/ The Phone call he made to Val Bradford (a local Sunny Coast LNP member) during that first week complaining of sexual harassment
    3/ The attempt by Brough and Ashby to say that Val Bradford had suggested Ashby talk to Brough. According to a statement Ross Jones (the Ashbygate Trust Private Eye) took from Val Bradford she advised him on 29th March, 6 days after he had already talked to Brough and his wife on 23rd March. So that avenue won’t fly.
    4/ The knowledge of Warren Entsch on the night before the Story broke and his inability to contact Abbott to warn him about what was about to break. Entsch, in a newspaper report said he called Steve Lewis who was very closed lipped about what was about to transpire. How did he know to call Steve Lewis? There are lots of media in the Parliament House Press Gallery. Why specifically Steve Lewis? I have heard that a staffer who worked for him had a partner working in Pyne’s office but have no idea if this is true, but it would explain his knowledge and if it is true there are even more Questions as to what Pyne knew. He specifically said only one person had told him. So who was that person? If their partner worked in Pyne’s office then how did that person know of the involvement of Steve Lewis? Which again leads to other Questions.

    I didn’t add all of this into the blog/article above as it was getting too long and there are so many different elements in this Conspiracy.

    5/ Who is Jackie?

    6/ Who is Murray?

    7/ One that you may be able to answer. Why is a barrister seeing a client without a solicitor being involved? How come he had never heard of Harmer’s (in his affidavit) when a Junior in his chambers had acted in a case where they claimed Millions of dollars damages for sexual harassment. That Junior was instructed by Harmers. (the David Jones case, where he acknowledges the Junior Barrister and the case as well, but doesn’t know the instructing solicitors!) Don’t his chambers have meetings?

    8/ Then there is all the business about the diary pages and the alleged offences against the Criminal code and Crimes Act, by Ashby, Doane, Brough and Lewis. Which I wrote about and which are referenced in the narrative above.

    It’s hard to keep all of this stuff in your head. There is so much going on. That’s why I had to do the timeline. Would you like a copy? It’s really illuminating looking at the sequence of events and then comparing that to the Questions asked of the participants by the press. Of course as a lawyer you may well be Au Fait with that approach if you practiced criminal law. Bit of hard work but works for me every time.

    Thanks again for your comment.

  3. i have no doubt in my mind, none what so ever this was a Liberal Party plot to bring down the Labor Govt of the day. Ashby was the patsy.
    Such a plot is any ones language is ‘treason’

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