Attorney General accused of bias in Slipper case


The Federal Opposition has accused the Attorney General of defending former Speaker Peter Slipper out of political motivations.

The Coalition says the government abused taxpayer money and legal procedure in their $750,000 defence of Mr Slipper.

Myles McGuire reports.

TRANSCRIPT

A senate committee was told 17 lawyers, costing around $750,000, were engaged to handle Mr Slipper’s case.

The Opposition says it’s a staggering amount, especially as the case was ultimately settled with James Ashby for only $50,000.

George Brandis, Shadow Attorney General: “It has been I think revealed last night that a political agenda behind the government’s defence that is a scandalous situation.”

The committee also heard Attorney General Nicola Roxon knew the contents of Mr Slipper’s messages before instructing the government to strike out Mr Ashby’s allegations without a hearing, effectively throwing the case out of court.

Josh Frydenberg, Liberal MP: “If they knew the details of those messages since May this year, they should have got Peter Slipper to resign a lot earlier, not wait another six months before he was forced to resign.”

The Attorney General’s office admits it’s possible not all the messages were read.

George Brandis, Shadow Attorney General: “You can’t know until you’ve analysed all of the particulars.”

Adding to the government’s legal dramas is embattled Labor MP Craig Thomson, with Fair Work Australia filing charges against him on Monday.

Myles McGuire, QUT News.