What does the ABC think it is doing broadcasting a lengthy interview of Peter Slipper by Barrie Cassidy on this morning’s Insiders?
Are they kidding? Using taxpayer funds to ask questions of someone who secured less than 1500 votes standing as an independent in a seat he previously held as a member of the LNP?
And there he was defaming Mal Brough and verballing Finance Secretary, David Tune. His constant mentioning of Ashbygate - very droll, Pete, NOT – was never pulled up by Cassidy.
But here is the real kicker – the Slip thinks he has been unfairly treated for abusing his parliamentary entitlements. Why couldn’t he just pay back the disputed sum?
Here’s the thing, Pete: you appeared to have falsified documents for an activity you knew to be outside the guidelines for entitlement. Taking a visit to a number of wineries close to Canberra and then splitting up Cabcharge dockets (and why did you persist with using them when everyone had moved on?) and lying about the pick-up points and destinations – not a good look.
This is altogether a different set of facts from politicians paying back their travel entitlements to attend a wedding. (Good point, Gerald, by the way – it is OK to attend a funeral it seems, just not a wedding. Really?)
And just as Alan Bond was pinged for stealing a painting – does anyone seriously think that that was the only thing Bondy did that was illegal … or the most egregious? – Slipper has been charged with this offence because it is relatively straightforward. We should not assume that he has not made a career out of pushing the envelope when it comes to entitlements.
Here is the story from The Australian:
FORMER speaker Peter Slipper says all federal politicians who have paid back expenses they were not entitled to should face criminal charges, or else the charges he faces should be dropped.
Various ministers, including Tony Abbott, have paid back money after admitting they used taxpayer funds to attend weddings, including that of Mr Slipper.
The former speaker, meanwhile, has pleaded not guilty to charges arising from his use of a government Cabcharge card for a tour of wineries in the Canberra area.
Mr Slipper told the ABC’s Insiders program he was charged because someone made a politically-motivated complaint to the police before he had the opportunity to pay the money back.
“I think it’s grossly unfair and when you look at the fact that there have been numerous occasions when members have been able to repay disputed amounts, no questions asked, matter closed. I have to say why have I not been afforded equivalent treatment?”