Slipper's exile may be indefinite
EMBATTLED Sunshine Coast MP Peter Slipper looks set to stay on the outer indefinitely as the Gillard government moves to clean up its tarnished image.
Peter Slipper announced today that when Parliament resumes on May 8, he will make a short statement to the House and then invite the Deputy Speaker to take the chair as Deputy Speaker.
The deal is expected to keep Mr Slipper on his $320,000 package as he sits on the cross benches, unable to vote.
Mr Slipper has been dogged by allegations of sexual harassment and travel expense fraud - all of which he has denied.
His announcement came at Labor's Craig Thomson, also facing an expenses scandal, announced today that he was quitting the ALP and would sit as an independent.
The Gillard government has come under heavy fire from voters for being propped up by Mr Slipper and Mr Thompson.
Mr Slipper put out a statement today again refuted the allegations against him, but said it was in the interests of the dignity of the Parliament that he remain out of the chair.
"Following certain allegations which included both a claim of criminal behaviour and a claim under civil law being made against me by Mr James Ashby, I issued a statement both strenuously denying the allegations and undertaking to step aside while the criminal allegation was resolved,'' Mr Slipper's statement said.
"The criminal allegation has been shown to be a fabrication and there is is no longer any reason to step aside,'' he claimed, even though there is an ongoing Australian Federal Police investigation.
"Since having the honour of being elected as Speaker of the House of Representatives I have introduced reforms which have improved the esteem and functioning of the Parliament,'' Mr Slipper said.
"More though remains to be done and I am looking forward to continuing this work.
"I believe however it is imperative that the dignity of the Parliament be upheld and for this reason when the House resumes its sitting on 8 May, I will make a short statement to the House and then invite the Deputy Speaker to take the chair as Deputy Speaker.
"This will avoid what could be a controversial debate on the floor of the Parliament, which would not assist the standing of the Parliament.
"I reject the allegations which have been made against me and look forward to resuming my role in the Chamber at a future time.''
Slipper issues could go back ten years
Brisbanetimes.com.au has today reported that the trouble surrounding Peter Slipper may go back as long as ten years.