Bob Ellis considers the vastly different and manifestly unfair treatment of former Speaker Peter Slipper compared to that of disgraced current Speaker Bronwyn 'Chopper' Bishop.
A while back, a speaker was driven from office, robbed of his pension, ruined, made mad and put near suicide because he spent $900 dollars on taxis to wineries near Queanbeyan. Today, another Speaker who spent five times that on a helicopter to a Liberal function is being forgiven, after hastily paying the money back, plus a fine.
It is only part of a vaster amount – a hundred thousand, two hundred thousand – of taxpayer money she felt entitled to spend on luxury trips to glamorous overseas places though her domain is, rightly, in one building. It is "an end of the age of entitlement" to others, but not to her. The money could have saved five Luke Battys; or kept up the suicide-watch calls to imprisoned adolescent Aborigines, but she, of course, took precedence.
And there you go.
This trip to a Liberal function is a measure of how pro-Liberal – and how corrupt – she is.
Though her job is by definition "above party poltics", she holds party functions in her office. And she has thrown out of the House 400 times Labor members and only 13 times Liberal and National members. She refuses all points of order, disallows many questions and sometimes won't even let a question be completed.
She is the most biased Speaker in the history of the Westminster system and, therefore, by definition, the most corrupt.
And she has politically cut off the legs – in mid-dropkick, as it were – of the choreographed media attack on Shorten's campaign manager appointment and how he was paid. She has opened up the cornucopia of money spent on Liberal private functions and travel to and from Liberal donors. She has opened up the need for a Federal ICAC.
And her own resignation of course. One rendition of "Hey, Big Spender" as she enters the chamber will leave her nowhere to go but Yarralumla, to hand over her papers and kiss hands.
And years of costs, when Peter Slipper sues her for her libels against him.
He is innocent of course. And she is not.
Read more about the persecution of Peter Slipper on IA's Ashbygate page.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License
Expose corruption. Subscribe to IA for just $5.