In stunning revelations, James Ashby has revealed to Channel 9 that disgraced Federal MP Peter Slipper was a member of the Liberal Party.
The bombshell follows repeated statements by Coalition MPs that Mr Slipper’s conviction for fraud was a stain on Julia Gillard’s Labor government.
In an exclusive 60 Minutes interview, Mr Ashby claimed that leading Coalition figures knew that Peter Slipper was a Coalition MP.
Ashby also alleged that Mr Slipper’s actions as a Coalition MP were not actually the Labor Party’s fault.
“No specific knowledge” of James Ashby claims
The government has sought to play down Mr Ashby’s statements.
Education Minister Christopher Pyne said that he was aware of “rumours” that Mr Slipper was a Coalition MP at the time of the fraud offences.
However, Mr Pyne stressed that, as Manager of Opposition Business, he had “no specific knowledge” of who opposition MPs were or what they might be doing.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott also stated that he had “no specific knowledge” of the matters described by Mr Ashby.
When pressed further, Mr Abbott said everyone should move on from the time he was Opposition Leader.
“It all relates to a period in our national life, which was discreditable, which was sordid, which was squalid, and which is over.”
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