The dramatic vote in the House of Representatives today left Peter Slipper hanging by a thread. There is no doubt his position is untenable – the numerous text messages and continual rorting bring great dishonour to the institution of the Speaker and the Parliament itself.
I doubt that any person would survive in any job – private or public sector – with such a record. Could you imagine a departmental secretary or chief executive being allowed to stay in the job if behaviour less scandalous became public? Mark McInnes was thrown out of David Jones for far lesser offenses.
Yet we have great hypocrisy on show in the House of Representatives – from the Labor members (including Craig Thomson), from Rob Oakeshott, from Tony Windsor and from Adam Bandt. They have shown they will not stand up for the victims of sexual harassment or against obnoxious behaviour if it doesn’t suit their political interests.
Clearly the likes of Tanya Plibersek and Nicola Roxon consider that the behaviour of Peter Slipper is acceptable. The same people who claim Tony Abbott has a ‘women problem’.
What standards do they wish to set – do they think it is acceptable if ministerial staffers spend their time sending sexually laden text messages?
The Speaker should be above any suspicion. As the House of Representative Practice (quoting the House of Commons practice) states:
The Speaker . . . is the representative of the House itself in its powers, proceedings and dignity. The
Speaker’s functions fall into three main categories. First, the Speaker is the spokesman or
representative of the House in its relations with the Crown, the House of Lords and other authorities
and persons outside Parliament. Second, the Speaker presides over the debates of the House . . . and
enforces the observance of all rules for preserving order in its proceedings. Third, the Speaker has
We have a Speaker whose bahaviour has been so disgusting, yet quoting the House of Representatives again
In the Commonwealth order of precedence the Speaker is ranked directly
after the Governor-General, State Governors, the Prime Minister, and a Premier within that
This is an absolute disgrace.
The dissembling by Labor that a Court case needs to conclude is rubbish. The Constitution does not require, nor allow, a Court to decide the position of Speaker (that’s separation of powers). Only the Members of the House of Representatives decide who has their confidence as Speaker. By voting for Slipper, the following people have brought the institution of the House of Representatives to its knees and have expressed their confidence in Slipper as Speaker:
(UPDATED – this is the record from Hansard)