Independents put pressure on Slipper

Peter Slipped has stepped down as the Speaker of the House of Represenatives while he is being investigated for his use of Cabcharges. [ABC]
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Peter Slipped has stepped down as the Speaker of the House of Represenatives while he is being investigated for his use of Cabcharges. [ABC]

Last Updated: Thu, 26 Apr 2012 09:36:00 +1000

Australian Independent MP Tony Windsor says he does not want to see Peter Slipper back in the Speaker's chair until sexual harassment allegations against him are resolved.

Mr Slipper stood aside as Speaker of the House of Representatives on Sunday amid allegations he had criminally misused Cabcharge vouchers.

The former Liberal MP is also facing a civil suit over claims he sexually harassed a male staffer.

Mr Slipper had said he was only standing aside because of the Cabcharge allegations, and the government had wanted him back in the Speaker's chair by the time the House of

Representatives sits again on Budget day, May 8.

But that now looks a remote possibility after Mr Windsor joined fellow independent Andrew Wilkie in saying Mr Slipper should stay on the sidelines until all allegations against him are resolved.

Another crossbencher, Rob Oakeshott, has already said he has an open mind about a potential motion of no-confidence in the Speaker.

Mr Windsor has told the ABC's AM program, he intends to speak to Mr Slipper about it in the next few days and hinted the Government could lose a no-confidence vote on the issue.

"My advice to him would be to vacate the chair whilst all these enquiries are going on and not force it to a vote within the Parliament," he said.

"I'm not pre-empting what may or may not happen in the Parliament, but I think in the interests of the role of Speaker, the very important role in our institution, as the Speaker had, that it is probably in the best for all of us, Peter Slipper included, that he steps aside as these matters are tidied up before resuming the chair."

With Mr Slipper stood aside, Labor's Anna Burke will take the Speaker's chair, leaving the Government with a wafer-thin one-vote majority in the Lower House.

Opposition whip Patrick Secker has signalled he may consider running for Speaker if Mr Slipper does not resume the role.

News Limited is reporting Mr Secker, who lost pre-selection for his South Australian seat of Barker last month, is considering putting his hand up.

"I don't rule anything in or out - that is politics," he said.

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