Brough Confirms Co-operation Over AFP Investigation

19/11/2015 9:54 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
Fairfax/Alex Ellinghausen

CANBERRA -- Special Minister of State Mal Brough has confirmed his home was searched on Tuesday by Federal Police as part of the investigation into the long-running scandal surrounding former parliamentary speaker Peter Slipper.

It was the second Sunshine Coast property visited by AFP officers seeking evidence relating to the leaking of Slipper’s official diary in 2012.

As part of the investigation, police are seeking correspondence with two other senior members of the Turnbull Government; Industry Minister Christopher Pyne and the Assistant Minister for Innovation, Wyatt Roy.

"I can confirm reports that the AFP visited me on Tuesday requesting any documentation relating to allegations involving the disclosure of diary notes of Mr Slipper,” Brough said in a statement.

In an interview with Channel Nine's 60 Minutes program last year, Brough admitted using Ashby -- then a Slipper media adviser -- in 2012 to illegally obtain copies of the disgraced former Speaker’s diary ahead of a sexual harassment case brought by Ashby.

Brough said, at the time, he thought Slipper had committed a crime.

The Speaker’s diary, which is regarded as “restricted data”, was subsequently leaked to the media.

The harassment case was later thrown out of court and Ashby later dropped a bid for damages two years later.

james ashby

The home of Ashby, who is now linked to serial political candidate Pauline Hanson, was also searched on Tuesday with the former staffer declaring, "I have nothing to hide".

Brough, who succeeded Slipper in the Federal seat of Fisher, has also said he has not done anything wrong.

“I can also confirm that I provided the exact same material to the AFP as I previously provided to the Federal Court,” he said.

“Furthermore I advised the AFP that I would be happy to meet with them at any time in the future if need be."

The elevation of Brough from backbencher to Minister in the Turnbull Government surprised many, including from within the Liberal Party, because of the ongoing AFP investigation.

Slipper is no longer under any investigation.

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