Slipper facing no confidence vote
PETER Slipper will risk having a no-confidence motion moved against him if he returns to the speaker's chair on budget day.
Key independent Andrew Wilkie said he would either move or support a no-confidence motion in the Sunshine Coast MP if he returned as Speaker before allegations of sexual harassment were resolved.
Mr Slipper denies he sexually harassed former staff member James Ashby, who launched an action in the Federal Court last week.
He also denies allegations made by Mr Ashby he criminally misused commonwealth-funded Cabcharge dockets.
He released dockets on Thursday night 26/4 in a bid to prove his innocence. The Department of Finance and Administration was yet to release all dockets relating to the fraud allegations.
Mr Wilkie said he believed Mr Slipper would read of the mood of the electorate and continue to vacate the speaker's chair pending the outcome of both the civil and criminal allegations.
Earlier this week Mr Slipper said he would only stand down while the criminal matter was investigated.
"If Peter Slipper is sitting in the chair before all of these matters are dealt with I will either move or support a motion of no confidence against him, but I don't expect it to come to that," Mr Wilkie told ABC radio.
"I think it's troubling that some in the government ... think he should resume the chair once the criminal matters are dealt with."
Fellow independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott have also indicated they would consider supporting a no-confidence motion in Mr Slipper if he returned to the chair before the civil allegations were tested.
Mr Wilkie said the manner in which the Slipper was handled was a "test of the government's character".
"A majority of Australians are disgusted with the conduct of this government," the Member for Denison said, citing the Gillard government's abandonment of his proposed poker machine reform and the elevation of Mr Slipper to the speakership.
But the government's Leader of the House, Anthony Albanese, said he was confident the release of the Cabcharge documents cleared Mr Slipper of the "very specific allegations" he handed over blank Cabcharge dockets.
"That allegation is not correct. And if that allegation is not correct, then it does draw into question some of the other statements that have been made," Mr Albanese said.
He qualified his support, citing the fact the Department of Finance was yet to release all of the Cabcharge dockets.
Mr Albanese said it would be Mr Slipper's decision whether he returned to the speaker's chair on budget day, adding he could see "no impediment" to this occurring if the criminal matters had been dealt with.
"Mr Slipper has said he'll make a statement later on. It's up to him as the Speaker to determine whether he goes in the chair or not," Mr Albanese said.
"The House of Representatives will then make a judgment on it."
Slipper releases Cabcharge dockets
PETER Slipper last night released photocopies of 13 Cabcharge dockets he claims clears him of any criminal behaviour.
In a brief statement, the embattled politician who stood aside on Sunday as Speaker in the Federal Parliament, said the dockets, all from January and February this year, were "clearly in my handwriting as I said they were".
He released the Cabcharge dockets which he said he received yesterday afternoon from the Department of Finance and Deregulation.
"The so-called criminal allegation is a complete fabrication, just as the other claims are not accurate," Mr Slipper said.
"I repeat that I reject allegations that have been made against me."
However, News Ltd reports said a hand-writing expert had raised doubts over the dockets.
But this morning the federal government seemed happy enough to have Mr Slipper back at Speaker, despite calls from independents for him to stay out of the chair until the sexual harassment claims against him are investigated.
In January, Mr Slipper issued a media release saying he had been cleared of travel expense claims after an investigation sparked by a complaint from the Sunshine Coast Daily.
However neither he nor the Department of Finance released the report which allegedly cleared him.
At the time, the department would not say he had been cleared but only that the matter had been finalised.
Mr Slipper stood aside as Speaker after Federal Police announced they had launched a criminal investigation into his alleged misuse of Cabcharges at the start of the year.
Mr Slipper also faces a civil lawsuit against claims he sexually harassed one of his advisers, James Ashby.
The total amount of money covered by the 13 Cabcharge dockets he has made public is $1315.
Federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon yesterday said taxpayers would not have to pay Mr Slipper's legal bill.
Ms Roxon said Mr Slipper had not asked the Commonwealth to pay for any legal expenses arising from the civil action against him.
And even if he did ask, the request would be refused, she said.
Mr Ashby, 33, claims Mr Slipper sexually harassed him between January and March this year, a claim the Sunshine Coast MP denies.
Queensland Liberal Senator George Brandis earlier this week wrote to Ms Roxon seeking confirmation the commonwealth would not be liable to pay Mr Slipper's legal costs.
Ms Roxon said parliamentary rules encompassed payment of ministers or parliamentary secretaries' legal bills.
"As Mr Slipper is neither ... his legal costs could not be paid under those regulations."