Peter Slipper
Peter Slipper

Slipper wants to "commit to the hard grind"

FORMER Speaker Peter Slipper's "strong interest in foreign matters" was a key factor in Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon nominating him for a spot on the parliament's Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade committee on Thursday.

A day after launching an unprecedented attack on the Liberal Party, Mr Slipper secured the nomination to replace Labor MP and former Attorney-General Robert McClelland on the committee.

The nomination came from both Mr Fitzgibbon, as Chief Government Whip, and Warren Entsch, as Chief Opposition Whip.

Mr Fitzgibbon said Mr Slipper's strong interest in foreign matters and his previous role on the committee helped secured his nomination.

He said when he asked Mr McClelland to serve on a different committee, he offered to relieve him of the Foreign Affairs committee position, making way for Mr Slipper.

"The reality is, the government backbench in the 43rd Parliament is the busiest in the history of the federation; there are few of us and more committees than ever before," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

"Some members are serving on up to seven committees and it is often difficult to find members with the necessary time to serve.

"Mr Slipper should and wants to commit to the hard grind but rewarding work of the committee system and I welcome his keenness to do so."

According to Department of Finance parliamentarian entitlement reports, Mr Slipper claimed more than $25,000 on overseas travel in the past year.

The records show Mr Slipper racked up $15,784 in taxpayer-funded travel to the United Kingdom, Gibraltar, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Germany as part of an overseas study trip last year.

He also claimed a $10,132 bill for a parliamentary delegation he attended to the Solomon Islands and Samoa.

While Mr Slipper will not receive a boost to his remuneration package, as a committee member he will be able to claim travel, meal and accommodation expenses for committee-related meetings.

Mr Entsch was unavailable for comment on Friday.

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