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Peter Slipper avoids jail time, cops community service

Peter Slipper
Peter Slipper

UPDATE: FORMER parliamentary speaker Peter Slipper has avoided jail time for fraudulently using travel entitlements to take three taxpayer-funded trips to Canberra-region wineries.

Instead, he will serve 300 hours of community service in Canberra and repay the $954 he defrauded.

The formal conviction also ends Slipper's plans to return to legal practice after losing his seat in federal parliament last year.

Read more at Brisbane Times.

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EARLIER: A YEAR behind bars will not affect Peter Slipper's right to travel at taxpayers' expense or his handsome $157,000-a-year retirement benefits.

Mr Slipper, the former member for Fisher and speaker of Parliament, faces sentencing in the ACT Magistrates Court today after being found guilty of misusing about $900 of his entitlements.

It is understood the maximum sentence he could face is one year.

A Finance Department spokeswoman explained former Parliamentarians only forfeited their employer-funded benefits if they were sentenced "to more than 12 months imprisonment".

Mr Slipper's long service entitled him to the lucrative Life Gold Pass, which gives 10 free domestic business-class return flights a year.

The spokeswoman said the relevant Act of Parliament provided a person was disqualified from the pass "if a superannuation order is made under the Crimes Act in relation to a person convicted of a corruption offence".

An application for a superannuation order can only be made if the person has been sentenced to "imprisonment for longer than 12 months".

A look at Mr Slipper's claim for entitlements between July 1 and December 31 last year, when he was in office for only slightly over two months before he was voted out, showed he spent $190,897 on travel and entitlements.

This included $123,026 on "office administration costs", $6612 on his travel allowance with an additional $14,031 on domestic travel and $8646 on car costs.

Former deputy prime minister Wayne Swan spent $260,857, including $161,065 on office administration costs.

Mr Slipper's colleague, former member for Fairfax Alex Somlyay, spent $67,605 on office administration costs, $653 on domestic travel and $4323 on car costs.

Mr Slipper is appealing his conviction.

Topics:  peter slipper



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