Mal Brough’s Promotion Marks Turnbull’s First Blunder
Former Australian Army officer and senior LNP government minister Mal Brough remains under investigation by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for his role in bringing down former Parliamentary Speaker Peter Slipper.
“The AFP can confirm that it received a referral regarding the alleged unauthorised disclosure of Mr Slipper’s diaries on September 8, 2014 and is investigating this matter. This investigation remains ongoing,” a spokesman for the Australian Federal Police said.
Last year, Labor MP Graham Perrett complained to the AFP that Mr Brough allegedly illegally obtained a copy of Mr Slipper’s diary at a time when he was preparing an ultimately successful Liberal preselection bid for Mr Slipper’s Queensland seat of Fisher.
In an interview with Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes program last year, Mr Brough admitted to illegally obtaining copies of the former speaker’s diary in 2012.
After the footage went to air, the Australian government asked 60 Minutes to provide copies of the interview and any journalist notes relevant to the program.
The footage was requested to assist the government with the AFP investigation into Mr Brough and whether he breached the Crimes Act by disclosing information by commonwealth officers.
Mr Brough is being investigated under Section 70 of the Crimes Act, which is responsible for the disclosure of information by Commonwealth officers.
If found guilty he could face a maximum jail term of two years.
Mr Brough says he asked government staffer James Ashby and another employee to obtain the diary copies because he believed Mr Slipper was corrupt.
“I believed Peter Slipper had committed a crime, I believed he was defrauding the commonwealth,” Mr Brough told 60 Minutes host Tara Brown.
At the time Mr Ashby was suing Mr Slipper and the Commonwealth, claiming the former Speaker had sexually harassed him, making unwelcome advances and sending him sexually explicit texts. Mr Ashby later dropped the allegations.
However on 29 July 2012, Justice Steve Rares found that Mr Brough had acted with Mr Ashby and another Slipper staffer Karen Doane in abusing the judicial process for the “purpose of causing significant public, reputational and political damage to Mr Slipper.”
Mr Brough was recently appointed as the Special Minister of State by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the recent cabinet reshuffle.
The position is designed to ensure parliamentary integrity and calls into question Prime Minister Turnbull’s judgement given Mr Brough’s chequered past.
Mr Turnbull’s office failed to respond to requests for an interview with The Gutter Trash.