Peter Slipper at Meet the Candidates Forum

Mal Brough rejects call for Ashbygate debate with Slipper

MAL Brough will not accept Peter Slipper's challenge to a debate on "Ashbygate".

The former Speaker and Member for Fisher, Mr Slipper challenge Mr Brough to the debate early this morning.

He said he wanted to discuss Mr Brough's alleged role in former staffer, James Ashby's sexual harassment lawsuit, which was thrown out of the Federal Court by Justice Rares as an abuse of process.

He also wanted to debate issues relating to the electorate.

Mr Brough refused.

"I have no further comment on anything Mr Slipper says," he said.

" I will continue to focus on the issues which worry people in the electorate."

Mr Slipper issued his challenge following the very strong statement made by mining magnate and Fairfax candidate Clive Palmer which confirmed that he had been approached by Mr Brough to fund the failed Ashbygate litigation.

Mr Palmer said Mr Brough approached him over a plan to "destroy Peter Slipper".

Mr Palmer told the media "to me it seemed there was no case at all against Mr Slipper….that it was something a court would entertain"

"Given that Mr Palmer also said "we don't want people in politics who are desperate to get there at any price" and that "people should not lie in politics", the people of Fisher are entitled to hear Mr Brough account for his actions in a debate with me as the Member for Fisher,'' Mr Slipper said in a statement a short time ago.

"If Mr Brough fails to accept this challenge then clearly he is effectively indicating to the voting public that he has something to hide.'' 

Mr Brough has repeatedly claimed he did nothing wrong in trying to help James Ashby after he came to him over sexual harassment claims against Mr Slipper.

Mr Brough told the Daily and ABC last week that he would do what he did again, comparing it to a recent case where he helped a man who was suicidal.

The former Howard government minister has denied asking Mr Palmer for money during a meeting at the Palmer Coolum Resort.

Mr Palmer has this week threatened to sue Mr Brough, saying he was effectively calling him a liar.

The Coast resort owner has called on Opposition leader Tony Abbott to disendorse Mr Brough.

Mr Abbott has failed to respond to questions from APN about Mr Brough.

Mr Brough is still considered the frontrunner to win the seat.



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