Oct 10, 2012

So Peter Slipper slides out — was it all worth it?

Peter Slipper's departure from the speaker's chair enables an assessment of exactly what Labor got from him and what price it paid. So was it all worth it?

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Peter Slipper, serial rat, frequenter of Canberra nightspots, creative user of travel expenses, brief prisoner of a parliamentary toilet, has left the speakership, allowing us to answer the question I posed about the government the day it made him speaker — “what price will it pay for elevating a man like Slipper?”

Labor ended up getting two things from Slipper: the opportunity to renege on its deal with Andrew Wilkie, which it did within two months of Slipper’s ascension, heading off a damaging campaign by the pokies industry and taking some ammunition from the resurgent Rudd forces. The other was the passage of its cuts to the private health insurance rebate, which only passed because Slipper was in the speaker’s chair. Slipper himself complained at the time that he wanted to vote against the bill.

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65 thoughts on “So Peter Slipper slides out — was it all worth it?

  1. Apollo

    Yes, it was worth it. Labors, Coalition and Greens are so mediocre I can’t bring myself to vote for any of them, the Australian public needs a side show for entertainment.

    Bring on Slipper, Alan Jones and whoever else!

  2. Suzanne Blake


    It was worth it for Labor, they go unpopular legislation passed, carbon tax, cut back in health rebates etc.

    Its all about the numbers / ego / pride , not about what is best for Australia

  3. Karen

    Bernard, a great article that is both sophisticated and nuanced. +1

  4. Aliar Jones

    Whatever anyone wants to say about Labor and the Greens cannot be taken seriously for a millisecond if they can’t also take the time to acknowledge how much lower down the evolutionary scale the Coaltion has sunk.

    If you think the government is a joke then you need to recalibrate your sense of humor and get a grip on reality.

  5. Lisa_Donna

    It’s not just the males that need to watch out either. Women can be just as prone to vulgarity and sexism as men

  6. Jimmy

    On the issue of people needing to watch what they have texted surel y Slipper isn’t the first person to have called Mirrabella a “botch”.

  7. GeeWizz

    6 Months

    That’s how long it takes Labor to realise it’s made a mistake.

    It took them that long to dump Craig Thompson.

    It took them that long to dump Peter Slipper.

    And yet they let these issues drag out by their own free-will and incompetence.

    Labor should have cut Slippery Pete loose 6 months ago and said he was of the Liberals making.. but instead they took ownership of him and his problems.

    And yet the numbers barely changed had they dumped him. Labor make such poor political decisions that you have to wonder if they are being run by school children.

  8. RoseL

    Unless we’re some kind of saint, I’m certain that we’ve all made vulgar and sexist remarks in private. I see a clear difference between public and private comments, why can’t the media? I don’t think that any of us would like our private messages exposed to the public. I’m sure that most reporters wouldn’t pass the test.

  9. The Pav

    So we had a speaker who was effective and got good policy through………Pity about the personal aspects but how can Gillard be held accountable for something his own party didn’t know of..or did they and did nothing?

    As to Abbotts “Shame” comment I refuse to believe it was accidental and makes me suspect that the line was cooked up weeks ago with Jones. After all they are in frequent contact.

    One question that has never been answered is that Jones just said he was repeating the comment so who did he hear it from first?

  10. Timehhh

    Good piece but not sure about the comment about voters not being enthused by Gillard’s speech because it was in support of Slipper.

    Normal people don’t watch Question Time and they don’t follow the “narrative”. Most of the many links I’ve seen posted to the speech show only Gillard’s speech, without much (if any) context. In isolation, the clips show a fired-up PM giving Abbott the kind of serve that many of the people posting the clip have been desperate to see for years. They don’t care what led to it, they just think Abbott deserved it by the bucketload and were pleased to see Gillard at her fiery best.

    To my eyes, approval/disapproval seems to be entirely a function of your previous disposition towards the two leaders.

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