Yesterday Julia Gillard, The Prime Minister achieved a win. The Speaker of the House of Representatives resigned, and a member of the Liberal Party was enticed to take the spot, and in the process resigned from the Liberal Party. This puts Julia in a much stronger position in the house, has effectively one vote is removed from the opposition and one vote is secured for her own position,
Of course this does not mean that she is out of the woods yet, as the member for Dobel looks increasingly more likely to be charged for misuse of his credit card whilst with the Health Services Union. If Dobel had to face a bi-election it would almost certainly fall to the Liberal Party, which until yesterday would have derailed the position the Government is in.
So the deal represents the insurance policy that is needed to ensure the continuance of the Government.
Here is a brief rundown of Peter Slippers, the new Speaker’s, “achievements” so far.
At Gove in 2003, Qantas staff refused to allow him to reboard a plane bound for Darwin because of his behaviour. Slipper said he was affected by a combination of dental drugs, a couple of drinks and a flight attendant having a bad day.
In 2007, at 3.30 am, police were called to the Canberra wine bar, The Holy Grail, after Slipper was thrown into the street by a man who said he took offence at the MP smoking against the rules.
In 2010, he was caught on camera in the parliament apparently having a nap while Indonesia’s president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono addressed the chamber. His Liberal enemies accused him of having too many drinks at an earlier function.
Later the same year, he got stuck in a disabled toilet inside Parliament House.
Mr Slipper has also run into trouble with entitlements and privileges.
He once paid back $14,000 in wrongly claimed expenses and had to deal with allegations that he breached the rules by allowing his son, a student at a Sydney private school, to drive his Canberra-based car.
His mobile phone bill in 2008 ran to almost $15,000, higher than that for the then prime minister, Kevin Rudd.
The Electorate of Fisher in South Eastern Queensland may feel proud that their local representative is now the Speaker of the House of Representatives, or they may feel that he has done an Oakeshott on them. So one may imagine that the electorate may or may not return him in the next election most likely in 2013. Essentially that question will revolve around wether the felt they were electing a liberal or they were electing Peter Slipper himself.
Peter Slipper was also ordained priest in 2008 in the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia, an organisation which adheres to traditional Anglican values. There is no doubt that at the core of the division between this group and the Anglican Church of Australia (indeed the rest of the Anglican Communion) is the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood. They remain resolutely opposed to the ordination of women.
One is also left wonder what was offered to Harry Jenkins for his resignation as Speaker of the House? Did he just take one for the party, or is there a transaction or a promise express or implied that enabled this. Regardless it is clear that Julia now owes someone else.