Peter Slipper
Peter Slipper

Slipper's school days in Ipswich

WHILE the recently appointed 27th speaker of the Australian House of Representatives continues to duck and dive media scrutiny, those who knew Peter Slipper from his days in Ipswich will not be so easily swayed by the controversy.

Mr Slipper, 61, was born and bred in Ipswich, graduating from Ipswich Grammar School in 1967 before studying and becoming a partner in a local law firm.

His parents still live in Booval.

Member for Blair Shayne Neumann, who has known Mr Slipper for nearly 30 years, said the former Liberal National Party member was a good man for the job who maintained a keen interest in his old home town.

"I first met him in about 1983 when I was working as an articled law clerk for Pender and Pender (now known as Walker Pender), and he was a partner in Slipper, Smith and Co," Mr Neumann said.

"He was trying to convince me to join the National Party.

"When I told him I was with Labor his words to me were: 'That shouldn't stop you'. We've joked about that day on a number of occasions since."

Australian Catholic University Professor of Public Policy Scott Prasser, who was in Year 8 at Ipswich Grammar when Mr Slipper graduated in 1967, said the MP's political aspirations had been clear from a young age.

"He was in the school debating team and was one of the better seniors," Mr Prasser said.

Mr Slipper represented the seat of Fisher as a member of the National Party from 1984 to 1987, before shifting across to the Liberals and returning to the Sunshine Coast seat in 1993.

His move to the speaker's role has angered his former party, which was reportedly planning to dump him before he surprised them all.

Mr Prasser said Mr Slipper had slipped out of favour with most of the conservative Fisher electorate.

"Politicians do things for themselves sometimes, don't they?" Mr Prasser said.

"He was on the way to losing his endorsement and has made a decision on what is best for his situation."

LNP Member for Wright Scott Buccholz said personal feelings would not interfere with Mr Slipper's ability to perform in his role.

"The speaker's position is bigger than anyone's personality," he said.

Mr Slipper made his presence felt during last Thursday's question time, throwing out four LNP MPs.

Mr Neumann backed the heavy-handed approach.

"At least three of them deserved it," Mr Neumann said.

"He has certainly had a colourful past but he is well qualified to do the job, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of parliamentary procedure."

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