Peter Slipper text messages with James Ashby
SEX was a constant theme in text message conversations between Peter Slipper and a male staffer he employed on a $140,000 salary without first requiring a CV, but knowing he was gay.
James Ashby has accused the Speaker of sexual harassment while in his employ.
The release of hundreds of documents, including text messages between the pair dating back to early October last year, reveal a relationship that occupied a strange zone beyond that of either politics or work.
Mr Slipper and Mr Ashby engaged in long text message exchanges where the sexual orientation of Mr Ashby's friends and his sex life were discussed.
The Member for Fisher made it clear that he considered there was a majority of "rednecks" on the Sunshine Coast.
He was concerned that Mr Ashby's sexual orientation might prove a barrier to his hopes of a career in politics.
In a text conversation on October 14 last year Mr Slipper asked Mr Ashby whether one of his friends was a homosexual.
SLIPPER: Is he gay?
On October 25 Mr Slipper returned to the subject.
SLIPPER: Bill he a drought breaker????
ASHBY: No neither of us feel rushing into anything would be a good idea. Slow and steady wins the race.
SLIPPER: Truly impressive restraint. Thought you would be in at first accommodation opportunity ha!!
ASHBY: Like a good army there's always tactics
SLIPPER: Yes but given your obvious charms thought Bill would have been keen to run up the white flag.
ASHBY: Charm haha. I'm just a single man.
SLIPPER: I did have a sweet view of Bill's surrender.
ASHBY: What's that mean?
SLIPPER: Just my vivid imagination and warped sense of humour :)
Then on October 28 in a text message the Member for Fisher returned to the subject.
SLIPPER: Did you lose your maidenhead again?
ASHBY: What's that?
ASHBY: Caravan park was approved for public use too by council today. Very happy bout that.
Mr Slipper persisted.
SLIPPER: Your virtual hymen.
SLIPPER: Your virtual hymen.
ASHBY: You're weird. What's on the agenda for the weekend?
SLIPPER: Weird??? What you mean? R u offended?
ASHBY: No not offended. I don't offend that easy.
SLIPPER: Did warn u of my warped sense of humour.
ASHBY: Yes I raise an eyebrow from time to time wondering what some messages mean. I'll be first to say if something offends. I'm not one to hold back.
The conversation then turned to a bitchy comment about Mal Brough and Botox before Mr Slipper again brought the conversation back to sex.
SLIPPER: Is Bill still a notional virgin?
ASHBY: Yes he is I spoke to him today about just chillin out. I don't have time for a relationship. Too busy with work for the LNP.
Mr Ashby started working for Mr Slipper on December 11, last year shortly after his elevation to the Speaker's role. His harassment allegations are supported by another staffer Karen Doane who Mr Slipper employed on November 24. Towards the end of December the relationship appeared to be still strong.
Ashby had been attempting to convert the Speaker into a social media user, something that prompted the following exchange on December 27:
SLIPPER: James. Your day? Did 3000 words on Facebook in just 2 messages. Not bad eh!
ASHBY: I'm going to smack u! Arhhhh
SLIPPER: I might like that.
SLIPPER: Tho I'm not really into pain x.
However a little over a month later Mr Ashby had met with Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle, the start of a process that saw him in April lay allegations of sexual harassment against a man to whom he had repeatedly pledged honesty and loyalty.