Slipper and the presumption of innocence
John Richardson writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. Crikey’s contention, that Peter Slipper should not resume the role of Speaker of the House of Representatives until such time as the allegations against him have been “finalised”, might have merit if there was actually an investigation on-foot.
However, the fact of the matter is that Slipper’s accuser has mounted an action in the Federal Court and the only way his “allegations” will be tested is through the matter being dealt with by the court: there is no independent investigation taking place.
In the meantime, if Slipper is able to show that the related allegations of criminal behaviour made by his accuser (that he improperly used/applied Commonwealth funds) are without foundation, that to me would suggest that there is a risk that the balance of the allegations against him might also be unfounded — enter the presumption of innocence more loudly.
If Slipper does not resume the Speakership pending resolution of the Federal Court action, he will be paying an immediate and ongoing price (as will the government), regardless of the ultimate outcome. His protagonist, on the other hand, may not pay any price at all, even if his action fails (if his lawyers are acting on a contingency basis).
Indeed, in the circumstances, it may be that Slipper’s protagonist is free to actually profit from the situation, by giving paid interviews (the media’s interest has certainly been encouraged by the behaviour of his representatives), while Slipper’s reputation swings in the wind, waiting on the court proceedings. This is not my idea of justice.
Les Heimann writes: Your editorial espousing that Peter Slipper should voluntarily relinquish his place because of an accusation of wrong doing is outrageous.
In the first place Slipper is accused of s-xual harassment and that’s just an accusation at this stage. Appropriate authorities — outside Parliament — will ensure, through due process, whether the evidence of such accusation proves right — or wrong. Not Parliament
Secondly, if one follows this path of slippery subjectivity who will be the judge of when one should “stand down”?
Thirdly, given the circumstances, what if this affair is another “Godwin Grech exercise”?
Peter Slipper is a person “equal in the eyes of the law” but somehow not equal in the eyes of others.
Your position on this is groundless, dangerous and entirely undemocratic
Niall Clugston writes: Putting in the boot on Peter Slipper, Crikey’s Thursday editorial opines “the Speakership is a key role in Australian democracy”. Really? The role is merely to compere the House. The Speaker rarely votes and eschews party allegiance. How is that more important than a minister, parliamentary secretary, committee member, or even an ordinary MP who actually legislates?
Luke Miller writes: Re. “Paul Barry: the Murdoch Roast — how did James’ entree compare to Rupert’s sizzle?” (yesterday, item 1). “I take a particularly strong pride in the fact that we have never pushed our commercial interests in our newspapers,” says Rupert Murdoch.
As a teenager in Melbourne I recall opening the sports section of the Herald Sun in 1997 and being perplexed by the massive coverage of News Ltd’s Super League rugby matches.
For a few months it rivalled coverage of the AFL in the Victorian-based paper even though it must’ve had a fraction of the readers.
Donald Dowell writes: Rupert Murdoch seems to have channelled his inner Richard Nixon for the Leveson inquiry. It now seems there was an cover-up, but of course the old man knew nothing of it, it was all the doing of his underlings. He might have to get his helicopter ready and start work on a “my mother is a saint …” speech.
Andrew Haughton writes: Last night Rupert Murdoch made Peter Slipper sound convincing.
Guy Rundle writes: Ken Lambert (yesterday, comments) chides me for several things in my Anzac Day piece: “smearing” the 342,000 Australian soldiers who fought in WW1, as war criminals, and failing to mention WW2, as “the good war”, against “the fanatical Japanese Imperial Army and its murderous rampage through south-east Asia”.
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