Member for Isaacs

Parliament House Doorstop 12 December 2012

12 December 2012

Subjects: Slipper case thrown out of court; Tony Abbott has questions to answer about LNP involvement

Subject: Slipper case thrown out of court; Tony Abbott has questions to answer about LNP involvement

DREYFUS: Tony Abbott must come clean as to what was the involvement of him, his office and senior members of the Liberal frontbench in this attack on the Government.


DREYFUS: I'm saying that he must have known about it. He's just about admitting knowing about it. We've had ducking and weaving from Mr Abbott, we've had ducking and weaving from Mr Pyne. We know that Mr Ashby called Julie Bishop's office, that has become public. We know that an endorsed candidate for office, a former Minister in the Howard Government, Mal Brough, is up to his neck in this conspiracy and that's directly from the judgment.

So while as the questioner has indicated, it might be the case that Mr Abbott is not personally named in this judgment and Julie Bishop is not personally named in this judgment, and Christopher Pyne is not personally named this this judgment, we know from their ducking and weaving, we know from some of the facts that have come out that they were involved and I am calling on Mr Abbott today to come clean, to make a full statement as to what was his personal involvement and what was the involvement of his office in this in the lead-up to this proceeding being commenced against the Speaker.

REPORTER: If this is as you say an attempt to overthrow the Government, shouldn't you be doing more than just calling on Mr Abbott to explain, shouldn't the Government be putting forward some kind of inquiry or at the very least, saying that Mal Brough's position, his pre-selected position is untenable?

DREYFUS: That's certainly the case that Mal Brough's position is untenable. He should immediately be disendorsed by the Liberal National Party of Queensland because someone that has behaved in this way, someone who was - it's not as if he's coming fresh to this, it's not as if Mal Brough is some kind of innocent.

This is a man who was a senior Minister in the Howard Government who is having a second tilt to become a member of the House of Representatives, and he of all people should have known the wrong that he was engaging in in seeking to bring down the Government, seeking to shift the balance in the House of Representatives by a misuse of court proceedings.

Because make no mistake, that's what this judge has found, he has found that the proceedings in the Federal Court were an abuse of process, did not deserve to go forward to a trial and were consequently rightly struck out. And that's what Mr Mal Brough has involved himself in.

It is untenable that he should continue to run as a candidate for the federal seat of Fisher and the Liberal National Party of Queensland should hang their heads in shame for even having endorsed him as candidate.

REPORTER: How do you explain to taxpayers the justification for a $50,000 settlement on a case which Justice Rares has rubbished and which you agree is a complete abuse?

DREYFUS: I remind members of the press gallery here that there was intense criticism directed towards the Commonwealth for bringing an abuse of process application because the abuse of process application was brought jointly by the Commonwealth and by Mr Slipper as the other party to the proceedings. The Commonwealth having brought that application has been vindicated by this judgment of Justice Rares.

I didn't think any litigant in Australia, be it the Commonwealth or a private litigant, needs to apologise for bringing proceedings to an early conclusion and that's what's occurred here. Looking after the interests of taxpayers, avoiding further disputation, avoiding taking up time in court is always a worthwhile thing.

REPORTER: If he had $50,000 should he have settled this himself, a few months ago, so we never received today's judgment?

DREYFUS: I'm not going to go back over the ground of what might or might not have occurred in these negotiations or what Mr Slipper might have done. I think we need to concentrate on this extraordinary judgment of the Federal Court of Australia. It is an unprecedented judgment and it's that because it's very rare for a court, a superior court, in Australia to strike out proceedings without a trial.

It is even more rare for a court to strike out proceedings on the basis that they amounted not to a proper proceeding in the court but to an abuse of process caused by being a political attack on the Government. A political attack on the House of Representatives and an attempt to use court proceedings to change the balance in the House of Representatives. That's an extraordinary thing.