Heartwarming, isn’t it? To know our elected representatives are up to no good; how much better to know they may be busted for their antics. I’m a taxpayer too, and tonight’s post concerns a brewing outrage.
It’s the Liberal member for Fisher in Queensland, Peter Slipper; an individual I wrote a piece on a week ago, and whose interesting methods of discharging his duties are (publicly) now catching up with him.
This is not my favourite individual, by any stretch; but he deserves nonetheless to be dealt with fairly in comment pieces, in the mainstream press, and by the law.
A story appearing in today’s press — which appears to have been subsequently pulled, albeit with no disclaimer or apology — detailed 123 domestic flights booked by the member for Fisher which were immediately cancelled and then credited to the member for future use in his own name.
It’s been well documented over a period of years that Slipper has had to repay tens of thousands of dollars in travel expenses; it has also been revealed that he recently expended some $30,000 in family travel expenses — at the expense of the public taxpayer.
There are also questions over his use of Comcars; it has been reported that — at public expense — Slipper “visited” areas such as Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley and Sydney’s King’s Cross, despite these destinations not being in his electorate and irrelevant to any ministerial duties (Slipper has never held a ministerial office).
Perhaps he was there in his capacity as a deacon of an ultra-conservative branch of the Anglican church, talking to the dipsos and the druggies and the homeless people in those areas, and from the very goodness of his heart.
I’m sure that must have been it.
Even if he was, it doesn’t explain what he was doing claiming travel expenses in the process from the Commonwealth.
The rest of Australia might not know Peter Slipper’s name — yet — but his constituents certainly do.
Fully 2700 of them (or nearly 3% of his enrolled voters) have signed a petition calling for an investigation into Peter Slipper and his travel habits, and lodged this with the member for Fairfax — Alex Somlyay — who will deliver it to the Speaker of the House of Representatives next week.
Bloody good show, too.
Slipper’s attempt to smear Somlyay as an unrespondent representative of his electorate of Fairfax is despicable.
He said it was “disappointing that Alex Somlyay sees it as part of his role to continue to fuel the Daily’s campaign … particularly when my office and I have, for years, worked to assist his constituents who refuse to deal with him after failing to receive assistance from him”.
Slipper is talking of the Sunshine Coast Daily (yes, the same newspaper which yesterday published the exceedingly odd article about Stephen Smith that nobody can make head or tail of).
I haven’t seen or spoken to Alex Somlyay since I moved to Melbourne in 1998, but in the ten years prior to that I intermittently had a bit to do with him. I wouldn’t ever call him disreputable; and whilst not everyone can be satisfied by the democratic process (that’s democracy) I find it inconceivable that Somlyay would fail to assist his constituents.
Or at least, to try to help them.
And at the very least, there is no record or allegation of him touring around Fortitude Valley, King’s Cross, or St Kilda…or God only knows where else.
And there isn’t any suggestion, proven, alleged or otherwise, that he’s been rorting the taxpayers’ purse in terms of travel allowances.
There has however been, for many years, a lot of interesting stories around concerning Peter Slipper, and it seems some of these will finally find their way to a proper investigation.
The Red And The Blue wholeheartedly endorses the preselection challenge due to be mounted against Peter Slipper by former Howard government minister Mal Brough, and wishes Mr Brough every success in his attempt to remove what can only be described as a squatter and a grub from the House of Representatives.
Just as I am and have been adamant that the Labor member for Dobell, Craig Thomson, should be run out of Parliament if it is established he has committed a criminal offence, I am looking in the direction of Slippery Pete and thinking he, too, ought be run out of Parliament if any of the accusations against him are proven.
For the good of his constituents, for the good of the Parliament, and for the good of the country.
And, yes, for the good of the Liberal Party.
You see, people, I am not a hypocrite; I am loyal to the Liberal Party, but no sycophant.
And my standards are uniform.
Just as I believe Australia has no further use for Craig Thomson, I believe it has no further use for Peter Slipper either — if, indeed, Slipper ever rendered any meritorious return to the Australian public for his parliamentary service.
In 21 years over a 27-year span, there has been no meaningful policy advocated in Slipper’s name; no nation-changing idea; no enduring reform; no philosophical breakthrough; and no palpable success at anything other than simply winning re-election to what, for most of his tenure in Fisher, was a safe Liberal seat.
If any reader would rue the absence of Peter Slipper from federal Parliament (excluding my left-wing readers who would like him retained for potential political point-scoring reasons) then please say so, and why.
Otherwise, this column — effective immediately — throws its full weight behind former Howard government minister Mal Brough’s campaign to relieve Peter Slipper of his endorsement to contest Fisher for the Liberal Party whenever the next election falls due.
That’s where I stand, and I commend that position to readers around the country.
What do you think?