Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Slipper Ostracised; Coast MP's Decision to Defy Abbott Sparks Anger, Bill Hoffman Reports

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Slipper Ostracised; Coast MP's Decision to Defy Abbott Sparks Anger, Bill Hoffman Reports

Article excerpt

PETER Slipper yesterday turned his back on his party, defied his leader, and accepted what could quickly become a poisoned chalice.

In 2012 he will control, as Speaker, a federal parliament in which all bets are off.

His former political colleagues, speaking on and off the record, made it clear that the protection long afforded him through party expediency no longer existed.

Member for Fairfax Alex Somlyay, who has long made known his distaste for his colleague, yesterday described him as the worst Speaker to be handed the office since Federation.

aHe makes Mal Colston look like the Archangel Gabriel,'' Mr Somlyay said.

aMy electorate (office) phones have been flat out with calls from people totally disgruntled. They are venting their spleen at the parliament but it was Labor who put him up.

aMy colleagues in Canberra are absolutely disgusted. He's ratted on his party. I always believed he would do this and now he has done.

aI warned Bruce McIver (state LNP president) in writing and appeared before the state executive to detail my concerns.

aWhat this has done is pull the curtain down on Abbott's hopes of independents switching support. Slipper has given the government the numbers that have made the Gillard government that bit safer.

aSlipper has given Labor certainty for another two years of government.a

Yesterday morning Coalition leader Tony Abbott made clear in an emergency party meeting that no one was to accept Labor's nomination to the Speaker's position to replace Harry Jenkins who had handed his resignation to the Governor General.

Mr Slipper was missing so a messenger was sent to his parliamentary rooms with the instructions.

In truth the deal had long been done.

By day's end a man who had represented conservative politics for the past 21 years and who had been cosseted and protected by it was persona non grata. …

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