Slipper 'will ignore Tony Abbott'
FEDERAL Speaker Peter Slipper would never vote with the Coalition, no matter how much pressure Opposition Leader Tony Abbott put on him.
That is the view of University of the Sunshine Coast politics lecturer Bronwyn Stevens.
Ms Stevens was speaking after Mr Abbott told Sydney radio that he would expect Mr Slipper to vote with the Opposition if a casting vote in the House of Representatives was needed.
Mr Slipper ran as a Liberal National Party candidate for the Sunshine Coast seat of Fisher at the 2010 election.
He is now an independent following his election as Speaker in the final week of parliament in 2011, and his resignation from the Liberal-led Coalition.
Mr Slipper's casting vote could be crucial in the wake of independent MP Andrew Wilkie's decision to withdraw his support from the government.
"Slipper won't do it (vote with the Coalition)," Ms Stevens said.
She said Mr Slipper saw his Speakership as the crowning glory of his political career.
He would never do anything to put it in jeopardy.
"Slipper will not crack. He did not when we were all upset about the expenses issue, he won't now ... I think he'll just ignore Tony Abbott."
Mr Abbott said Mr Slipper had campaigned against Labor's policies at the election and Coast voters expected him to stand by that.
Mr Slipper said yesterday he did not believe the position would arise.
"As I understand it, Mr Wilkie has stated he 'would only support motions of no confidence in cases of serious misconduct, not those that were politically opportunistic'," he said in a statement.
"Therefore my role as independent Speaker has not materially changed as a result of Mr Wilkie's recent decision.
"I remain committed to being the best independent Speaker in the Westminster tradition in the Australian Parliament."
Meanwhile, Mr Slipper has advertised for an assistant media adviser to join two other media advisers in his office.
The job pays up to $108,000 with an allowance of more than $25,000.
Sources in Canberra said yesterday that the previous speaker Harry Jenkins did not have a media adviser.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
What he does:
- Moderates debate, makes rulings on procedure, announces the results of votes.
- Decides who may speak during debates.
- Has powers to discipline members who break the procedures of the house.
- Often also represents the House of Assembly in ceremonial and other situations.