Slipper claims he was 'bullied'
DISGRACED Sunshine Coast MP Peter Slipper has claimed he left the Queensland LNP because he was being 'bullied'.
And Mr Slipper claims he would not have taken the job of Speaker if he had believed it would guarantee Labor staying in power for the full term.
Mr Slipper gave his first interview since joining the cross benches to the Sydney Morning Herald - despite being given numerous opportunities by his local paper to tell why he deserted conservative voters on the Sunshine Coast.
Mr Slipper made it clear in a recent response to a series of questions that he would be making a statement - but not through the Sunshine Coast Daily.
The MP is furious that the Daily has continued to highlight his excessive travel expenses - and launched a petition calling for an audit of his expenses for the past 10 years.
The petition, which is still be acted upon, was signed by 2700 Coast residents who also called for greater accountability of all MPs when it comes to their expenses.
Mr Slipper, who is a frequent visitor to Sydney, told the Sydney paper that Opposition leader Tony Abbott had told him in August he would help find him a seat given the moves to replace him in Fisher with former minister Mal Brough.
But the federal director of the Liberal Party, Brian Loughnane, who was at the meeting, rejected this, according to the Fairfax report.
Since his defection, the LNP have washed their hands of Mr Slipper, saying he is Julia Gillard's problem.
''We were trying to manage Peter Slipper out of the Parliament,'' Mr Abbott was quoted as saying.
But the LNP faces ongoing questions about why it did not deal with Mr Slipper sooner.
During a visit to the Sunshine Coast before the last election, Mr Abbott was asked about Mr Slipper's expenses but failed to condemn him at the time.
Mr Abbott at the time said it was "fair and reasonable" that travel expenses be paid for Mr Slipper's travel between the Sunshine Coast and Canberra.
"Members of parliament are entitled to travel from their place of residence to Canberra for sittings of parliament," Mr Abbott said.
"I'm satisfied (Mr Slipper) has acted within his entitlements. My understanding is that he's acted within his entitlements."
However the Coalition leader said he was not familiar with the details of Mr Slipper's huge travel bills during six months of 2009.
Mr Abbott had pledged he would cut waste if elected.