Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Labor Gains a Necessary Evil

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Labor Gains a Necessary Evil

Article excerpt

PETER Slipper's interest in politics was forged in the years of the teetering Whitlam Labor government.

The long-standing conservative party member from Queensland, who has become Speaker of the House, credited those C[pounds sterling]dark daysC[yen] of the mid-1970s in his first speech to parliament in February, 1985.

C[pounds sterling]Government is necessary, but we must always remember that it is a necessary evil,C[yen] the 35-year-old rookie said.

Mr Slipper, 61, on Thursday announced he would shed his Liberal National Party membership and take the Speaker's job.

The chain of events gave the current Labor minority government an improved buffer on the floor of the lower house.

The Ipswich-born MP had in recent weeks been under fire from the Liberal National Party executive in Queensland, which was angered by his decision to invite Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on a school tour in his electorate.

Former coalition prime minister John Howard was at another event nearby, and Mr Slipper's slip was seen as a snub to Howard.

His relationship with the Queensland LNP tanked, and the executive was to decide this week on whether to expel him or call an early pre-selection for Fisher.

Howard-era minister Mal Brough had wanted to contest pre-selection against Mr Slipper, who has had tense relationships with former colleagues, neighbouring Liberal MP Alex Somlyay, Mr Brough and others in the LNP.

C[pounds sterling]We have had World War Three on the Sunshine Coast since Mal Brough was admitted for LNP membership,C[yen] Mr Slipper said earlier this month.

The ongoing tensions have now propelled Mr Slipper into the arms of Labor, which on Thursday nominated him at its candidate for Speaker to replace Labor's Harry Jenkins, who resigned earlier that morning.

C[pounds sterling]At 17 years' membership of the National party, 19 years' membership of the Liberal Party and three years' membership of the Liberal National Party I will be relinquishing my party membership,C[yen] the new Speaker told parliament. …

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