Political staffer James Ashby has lost part of the case he brought against the Commonwealth, seeking payment of $4.5 million in legal costs incurred during his litigation against former speaker Peter Slipper.
Mr Ashby, a former staffer to Mr Slipper, brought court action in 2012 alleging Mr Slipper sexually harassed him and misused parliamentary entitlements. Mr Slipper denied the claims and the case was later withdrawn.
In 2018, Mr Ashby sought an “act of grace” payment from the Commonwealth to pay his legal expenses of $4,537,000. Such a payment can be provided by the Finance Minister if it is deemed appropriate due to special circumstances, however the request was refused.
Mr Ashby had argued he should qualify for the payment because Mr Slipper was previously given one, which amounted to inequitable treatment, and because Mr Ashby was a whistle-blower who sought to expose and prevent sexual harassment and the misuse of parliamentary entitlements.