Ashby lawsuit designed to hurt me: Slipper

Peter Slipper has made an impassioned plea to a court to throw out a sexual harassment case brought against him by his former staffer James Ashby.

Mr Slipper, who is representing himself after parting ways with his lawyers, said the lawsuit was "dressed up" as a sexual harassment case when it was really designed to "hurt my political career, hurt me financially, destabilise the government and destroy my marriage".

"I love my wife very much, your honour," Mr Slipper said.

He said he considered Mr Ashby a friend and was "gobsmacked" when he received an email from the staffer's lawyers notifying him of the claim filed in the Federal Court.

"Mr Ashby never raised with me any level of concern. The relationship in the office was very polite, very pleasant," he said.

"That was the first indication I had that Mr Ashby was in any way aggrieved."

The Speaker broke down as he told the court of the impact the case had had on his career, marriage and personal finances.

He denied he sexually harassed Mr Ashby, saying he was determined to execute his duties as the Speaker.

"There is no way I would want to sexually harass anyone because I'm focused on the job that I have got."

Earlier, Justice Steven Rares asked Mr Ashby's lawyers how the staffer's alleged witnessing of Mr Slipper giving unsigned Cabcharges to a driver could amount to a breach of contract.

He said Mr Slipper could have had a legitimate arrangement with the driver, which Mr Ashby was unaware of.

Mr Ashby's barrister, Michael Lee, SC, defended his instructing solicitor, Michael Harmer, from allegations that he breached his professional duties.

"There is no doubt Mr Harmer discharged his responsibility to give him [Mr Ashby] warnings that the consequences that would follow if he made any allegation that was baseless," Mr Lee said.

Justice Rares has reserved his decision on the abuse of process application.

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