Skip to comments.Slipper resigns as Speaker (Speaker of the Australian Parliament resigns - sex scandal)
Posted on 10/09/2012 6:05:18 AM PDT by naturalman1975
Peter Slipper has announced his resignation as Speaker of the House of Representatives just hours after a bill to have him removed from the position was narrowly defeated in Question Time.
The Opposition has been demanding he step down over offensive text messages, but their motion was voted down 70 votes to 69.
Mr Slipper says he was honoured to have been chosen as Speaker but recent events mean he is unable to continue in the role.
"It's a wonderful privilege to serve in a Parliament and of course the interests of the Parliament are seriously more important than the interests of any of us, and I respect this Parliament too much to not put aside my personal interests," he said.
"The importance of the House is... far more important than my future."
Holding back tears, Mr Slipper reflected on the changes he tried to make as Speaker and thanked MPs on both sides of Parliament who have supported his reforms.
"I regret that recent proceedings have prevented me from continuing with these reforms," he said.
"I'd also like to thank the staff of my office who've worked so hard, particularly in recent months."
Labor MP Anna Burke - who has been acting in the role - was tonight elected as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives.
(Excerpt) Read more at abc.net.au ...
This, potentially, has very significant implications for the government of Australia in the near future. We currently have a minority Labor (socialist) government - the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard holds office only with the support of a Green and some independents.
Prior to becoming Speaker, Peter Slipper was a member of the Liberal Party (and therefore of the conservative coalition opposition). Labor offered him the role of Speaker - and he took it - in defiance of tradition that the government supplies the Speaker because, by convention, the Speaker only votes in the event of a tie - and will resolve the tie in favour of the government. In a close Parliament, or worse, a hung Parliament, losing the Speakers vote on a day to day basis can really put the numbers on a fine edge.
Mr Slipper now remains a Member of Parliament, but is now an Independent. Mrs Anna Bourke MP remains a Labor MP but as the new Speaker will not normally vote. Another Labor MP, Craig Thomson recently became an Independent as well as he is under investigation for possible fraud involving his career before he entered Parliament.
What this means is that our 150 seat House of Representatives is now divided as follows:
Labor has 71 Members, only 70 of whom can normally vote (the 71st being the Speaker who votes to break a tie). It holds government as the Prime Minister was commissioned by the Governor General when their numbers were better, and she can continue to do so as long as she does not actually lose a vote of no confidence.
There is one Green MP who has agreed to support the government on confidence issues, so that gives them 72 regular votes they should be able to rely on.
The Opposition is the conservative Coalition which has 72 Members (44 Liberal, 20 Liberal National, 6 Nationals, 1 National Western Australia, and 1 Country Liberal) - the coalition is a long term, stable arrangement - it's operated for decades - and can almost be considered a single party in many ways.
72-72 from the main blocks - and 5 Independents and 1 representative of a new party - holding the balance of power. The former Labor MP I mentioned earlier can be expected to support Labor - he relies on their support, and probably hopes to go back to them if he gets past his legal problems. Mr Slipper, as a former Liberal is likely to support them. The representative of a new Party, Bob Katter, who was elected as an independent is ideologically closer to the conservatives than to Labor, but he is a true independent - he'd support the conservative coalition if convinced they had a case, but he would require convincing. That leaves the three independents truly holding the balance of power - these are the three men who gave Labor power in the first place - one enthusiastically, one who seemed to seriously consider both sides, and a third who went with them after the other two did, because that was the only way to get a stable government (at that time once the other two had committed to Labor, only Labor could govern - his vote would take them over the line, while giving his vote to the coalition would have merely created a tie.)
So - make it 74 tending to the government side, and 74 tending to the opposition side - and one MP in the middle and the Speaker. In a tied 74-74 vote, the Speaker would vote with the government to make it 75-74 - but a 75-74 vote without the Speaker is not a tie, and the Speaker can't vote to make it a tie.
The Gillard government can now be defeated at any time in Parliament, if the conditions are right. And if it happens on a major issue, the government can fall.
What kind of ‘sex scandal’ did Peter Slipper have?....................
You don’t have to answer, I just wanted to get all those words in one sentence..........
A young gay male staffer in his office alleged sexual harassment. It has basically been proven in court that Mr Slipper sent him hundreds of text messages referring to sexual subjects. Exactly why isn’t quite clear.
That ‘Reply to All’ button on your e-mail can get people in trouble.......
Now aren’t you sorry you asked?
Peter Slipper? I’m shutting up now.