Mal Brough sorry for 'unwittingly' misleading Parliament
IT APPEARS Special Minister of State and Sunshine Coast MP Mal Brough did not have a clear memory of the interview he gave on national television when speaking to Parliament on Tuesday
Under protracted questioning from the Opposition about his involvement in how James Ashby managed to obtain confidential diaries of former MP Peter Slipper -- Mr Ashby's boss at the time -- Mr Brough told Parliament his apparent response was the result of television editing.
His response was, "In relation to the 60 Minutes interview, what was put to air was not the full question".
Mr Brough today took the opportunity to revise his statement and apologise if he "unwittingly" confused the House.
"My recollection of the interview was that the question was put to me in a somewhat disjointed manner, and I answered the question without clarifying precisely what part of the question I was responding to," he said today.
"This is confirmed by the tape by 60 Minutes and that was the reason for my answer yesterday.
"Mr Speaker, I have taken the opportunity to review the tape and transcript and apologise to the House if my statement yesterday unwittingly added to the confusion rather than clarifying the matter."
Earlier, the Labor Opposition put a motion to the lower house in an effort to have Mr Brough ejected from the Cabinet. It failed.
Mal Brough's defence not supported by 60 Minutes video
IT WAS a tough day in Federal Question Time for Sunshine Coast MP Mal Brough yesterday, but things may be about to worsen for the Special Minister of State.
As the Australian Federal Police continued to investigate the Member for Fisher over his part in an alleged plot to obtain former MP Peter Slipper's confidential diary, he faced a grilling by the Opposition in Parliament.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Mr Brough had previously admitted to asking Mr Slipper's then-staffer James Ashby to take his boss's diary on 60 Minutes last year.
In Parliament on Monday, Mr Brough attempted to downplay his apparent confession.
"What was put to air was not the full question," he said.
But now 60 Minutes has released the unedited full transcript and video from the interview which shows that while journalist Liz Hayes may have stumbled during her question, the answer remained the same.
"Um why then also did you um assist, seek well, did you ask James Ashby to procure um copies of Peter Slipper's diary for for you?" Hayes said.
"Yes I did," Mr Brough replied.
"Why did you do that?" Hayes responded.
"Because I believed Peter Slipper had committed a crime. I believed he was defrauding the Commonwealth," Mr Brough said.
*sigh* Special Minister of State Mal Brough arrives for Question Time pic.twitter.com/hPZ1qrcNk2— ellinghausen (@ellinghausen) December 1, 2015
The Labor Opposition has renewed its attack on the government over Mr Brough's role in this sprawling "Ashbygate" saga, calling on Mr Brough to be dumped from the Cabinet.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has previously said he supported Mr Brough, despite the ongoing police investigation.
Mr Turnbull will today land in Canberra following the Paris climate summit, and is likely to be asked whether that support remains given this new information.
Mr Brough defeated Mr Slipper for the seat of Fisher at the 2013 election, following Mr Slipper's dramatic exit from the Coalition.