Slipper to get ‘act of grace’ if required

THE Federal Government has reportedly decided it will cover the legal costs for former House of Representatives speaker Peter Slipper if he is left out of pocket after the court case against him.

In December 2012, Federal Court Justice Steven Rares found the case brought against Mr Slipper by his former staffer James Ashby was used to pursue a political attack and to damage him.

ABC Radio reports Acting Special Minister of State Gary Gray saying he fears politically motivated law suits may damage democracy, and the government will make an "act of grace" payment if required.

Mr Gray said if the court decided other parties should pay Mr Slipper's full costs, there would not be a gap.

He said the decision was in line with management liability insurance arrangements for MPs and senators.

Those arrangements came into effect on July 1.

Mr Gray would not say how much the Commonwealth might be liable to pay Mr Slipper.

"Because there may well be other legal consequences, we need to wait and see," he said. "I'm an optimist that the actual number here will be zero."

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