Peter Slipper watches proceedings during a division at question time, as Speaker.
Peter Slipper watches proceedings during a division at question time, as Speaker.

Slipper worst Speaker: Somlyay

PETER Slipper has turned his back on his party, defied his leader, and accepted what could quickly become a poisoned chalice.

In 2012 he will control as Speaker a federal parliament in which all bets are off.

His former political colleagues, speaking on and off the record, made it clear that the protection long afforded him through party expediency no longer existed.

Member for Fairfax Alex Somlyay who has long made known his distaste for his colleague, yesterday described him as the worst Speaker to be handed the office since federation.

"He makes Mal Colston look like the Arch Angel Gabrielle,'' Mr Somlyay said.

"My electorate (office) phones have been flat out with calls from people totally disgruntled. They are venting their spleen at the parliament but it was Labor who put him up.

"My colleagues in Canberra are absolutely disgusted. He's ratted on his party. I always believed he would do this and now he has done.

"I warned Bruce McIver (state president) in writing and appeared before the state exectuive to detail my concerns.

"What this has done is pull the curtain down on Abbott's hopes of independents switching support.

"Slipper has given the government the extra numbers that have made the Gillard government that bit more safer.

"Slipper has given Labor certainty for another two years of government."

Yesterday morning Coaltion leader Tony Abbott made clear in an emergency party meeting that no one was to accept Labor's nomination to the Speaker's position to replace Harry Jenkins who had handed his resignation to the Governor General.

Mr Slipper was missing so a messenger was sent to his parliamentary rooms with the instructions.

In truth the deal had long been done.

By day's end a man who had represented conservative politics for the past 21 years and who had been cosseted and protected by it was person non grata.

Emails from the branch to LNP members in the Fisher electorate made clear he and his wife Inge were to be removed from all invitation lists. (See below)

A senior Coast LNP member said yesterday that Mr Slipper had been aware since his ticket for the Fisher Divisional Council was rolled by a Mal Brough-led team in early September that he could expect no more than 20% of the vote at pre-selection for the next federal election.

"But this was always going to happen since he took the deputy speaker's role last year,'' the senior Liberal said.

With no chance of winning as an independent, Mr Slipper had become an easy target for a Gillard Government numbers' game.

He will leave politics at the next poll his superannuation in the form of an annual stipend increased in value by 75%.

Sources say that former Labor leader Kevin Rudd's arrival in the electorate last Friday as Mr Slipper's guest at the same time as former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard was in Nambour for John Connolly's state campaign launch was not the catalyst of what was to follow but an act in a carefully managed play.

LNP state president Bruce McIver acknowledged that there was always an expectation that Mr Slipper would betray his party.

"It was always a balance here because of the tight numbers (in federal parliament),'' he said.

"The easy thing was to move him on.''

But yesterday's events caught the party locally and federally by surprise.

The expectation at senior state levels had been that he would attempt to derail the LNP closer to the state election.


An email to LNP Executive Members

Dear Sunshine Coast LNP Executive Members,
Today Peter Slipper, Member for Fisher, resigned from the LNP.
Your State Executive has unanimously accepted his resignation.
Would you please advise all relevant executive members that Peter & Inge Slipper are to be removed from any Party Unit function and meeting invitations.
Please adjust your membership lists accordingly.
On behalf of the Sunshine Coast LNP Region I thank you for your unity, discipline and patience throughout the last period of time.
I look forward to meeting with you all through the Christmas round of functions.
Kind regards,
Greg Newton
Sunshine Coast Regional Chairman

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