Liberal Party frontbencher and Manager of Opposition Business Christopher Pyne protesting his ‘innocence’ in The Sydney Morning Herald on 2 March 2012:
After a Gillard government campaign to link federal opposition MPs to the court action that led Mr Slipper to step down as Speaker, Mr Brough yesterday revealed he was briefly a confidant to Mr Ashby, even organising him legal advice, in the weeks before the adviser launched his explosive law suit against his then boss.
Mr Brough, who is standing for pre-selection in Mr Slipper's Queensland seat of Fisher at the next federal election, rejected speculation the Liberal National Party turncoat had been snared in a "honey trap" set by Mr Ashby with the backing of senior Coalition figures.
The one-time indigenous affairs minister in the Howard government, who lost his seat in the 2007 election landslide, revealed his role in Mr Ashby's court action as Labor stepped up its bid to tie Tony Abbott and Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne into setting up the Speaker.
In an exclusive interview, Mr Brough outlined the chain of events that led Mr Ashby to file his legal claim in relation to the sexual harassment he alleges to have suffered at Mr Slipper's hands, as well as the veteran MP's alleged misuse of taxi dockets, now the subject of an Australian Federal Police investigation…….
Mr Brough, who waged a two-year campaign in the LNP branch to oust Mr Slipper as candidate at the next election, said he had had little interaction with Mr Ashby before the "distressed" parliamentary adviser approached him. ….
Mr Abbott yesterday admitted that Mr Pyne, manager of opposition business, had sent an email to Mr Ashby after the pair had drinks in the Speaker's office on March 19. But Mr Abbott said Mr Pyne had not made further contact with Mr Ashby.
The Yass Tribune on went on to state on 5 May: