Allegations 'hang over' parliament

Peter Slipper
Peter Slipper

THE furore surrounding Member for Fisher Peter Slipper will overshadow crucial Budget sittings, says ANU Professor of Politics Dr John Uhr.

Allegations of sexual harassment and misused cab charges were filed in the Federal Court against Mr Slipper by his former aide James Ashby on Friday.

After mounting pressure to resign his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Slipper yesterday stepped aside from the role.

A statement from his office said that he would step aside, but not officially resign, opening the door for Deputy Speaker Anna Burke to step into the coveted role.

Australian National University's Dr Uhr said the allegations against Mr Slipper would not force him out of the job, but that it would "hang over the parliament, certainly at least for the next sittings week".

The next sittings of parliament will prove crucial for the Federal Government when it unveils cuts to bring the budget back to surplus in early May.

Dr Uhr said the much-touted surplus message could be overshadowed by the allegations against Mr Slipper.

"I think the parliamentary committees, which quietly go about their work, will continue to do so," he said.

"But once parliament resumes, all of that controversy is certainly going to put a dampener on any positive announcements the government was hoping to make.

"When the Opposition gets its chance to respond to the Budget in parliament, it's almost certain this latest controversy will be a part of their attack."

Dr Uhl said one of the biggest problems in sorting out such problems was the lack of a code of conduct for Federal parliamentarians.

"The Federal Parliament is still a bit old-fashioned, almost all of the state's have devised a code of conduct or members' conduct guide, so that's one of the problems."

Dr Uhl said he was not aware of any previous Speaker in Australia being the subject of similar allegations.

Mr Slipper's statement said he believed it was appropriate to stand aside while criminal allegations of cab charge fraud were resolved.

"Once it is clear they (the allegations) are untrue, I will return to the Speakership," he wrote in the statement.

With Mr Slipper standing aside, he will not be able to vote on the floor of the House.

Crucially, it means the Labor Government's majority is further reduced, and the government's agenda could be more easily threatened by minority groups and independents.

Independent Andrew Wilkie and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott both called for Mr Slipper to stand aside before he made the statement on Sunday.

But Labor MPs, including Kirsten Livermore, Justine Elliot, Bernie Ripoll, Shayne Neumann, and Janelle Saffin; Greens Leader Christine Milne and Independent's Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott either made no comment, or did not return calls on Sunday.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard did not comment before Mr Slipper's statement was released.

But after his announcement, the Prime Minister's office released a statement saying that it was appropriate that Mr Slipper stood aside during the criminal investigations.

Topics:  peter slipper

Richmond MP continues to fights for MRI

Able Medico managing partner Mark Grahame, Richmond MP Justine Elliot with Medical Staff Council chariman Dr Mike Lindley-Jones.

Justine Elliot continues to fight for an MRI at Tweed Hospital.

Learning peace of mind

BEING MINDFUL: The children of St Anthony's Catholic Primary School learn mindfulness from Angela Lockwood.

Children learn how to handle stressful stituations.

Local Partners

Family's new arrival in face of tragedy

MEL Small had already gone into labour when she learned of the tragic fate of her sister Jodie Spears.

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Declan Kelly and the Rising Sun to shine bright at festival

Declan Kelly & The Rising Sun is one of the headlining acts at this year's festival.

Main stage set to pump with radiant reggae and dub vibes

Expert's talk on Olley's life is not to be missed

THE ARTIST: Artist Margaret Olley at the Tweed Regional Art Gallery in 2006.

RARE insight into the life of one of most cherished hoarders

Country star returns to roots

LIVIN' THE LIFE: Australian-born country music superstar Gord Bamford lands at Twin Towns on October 28.

Australian born, Canadian raised.

In Flames are super 'proud' of new album

In Flames album to be released in November.  Photo Contributed

In Flames to release new album in November

Selma Blair blames flight outburst on 'psychotic blackout'

Selma Blair

"I am someone who should never drink, and I rarely do"

Bob Dylan acknowledges Nobel Prize win

Bob Dylan has finally acknowledged his Nobel Prize win

WATCH: Trailer for Jackman's final Wolverine film released

First trailer for the last Wolverine film with Hugh Jackman.

Thrilling trailer promises a dark, dystopian finale for Wolverine

CCTV footage surfaces of Kim Kardashian West's robbers

The blurry footage shows three men on bikes and two on foot

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge

Bank could add towns to 'high-risk' home loan list

Suburban housing in Glenvale, Toowoomba, Friday, October 17, 2014. Photo Kevin Farmer / The Chronicle

NEW Gladstone region towns could be added unwanted bank list.

Tenants renting rooms on Airbnb breaching lease

Rental properties.

Tenants renting rooms on Airbnb is a no no