POLITICS OF PERSONAL DESTRUCTION
Slipperâ€™s backers â€“ who spoke on strict condition of anonymity â€“ say that former Whip Alex Somlyay and new Whip Warren Entsch have launched a â€œvicious and cruel campaign of personal destructionâ€ calculated at doing nothing less than â€œdestroying Peterâ€™s marriage.â€
They have condemned the personal claims made against Slipper as â€œbaseless and bulldust.â€
One said â€œIf there was any evidence of wrongdoing or inappropriate behaviour it would have emerged a long time ago, itâ€™s not as if Somlyay has been restrained in his conduct, he was even brazenly taking photographs of Slipper in the chamber while nodding off and personally sending the image to a Sunshine Coast newspaper. Does anyone imagine that if he had proof of Slipper doing anything inappropriate that he would have held off using it?â€
â€œItâ€™s impossible to prove a negative though. No-one can prove something doesnâ€™t exist or isnâ€™t there, but the onus is on the accuser.â€ a Slipper supporter explained.
In relation to expenses claims that were the subject of recent media reports, Slipperâ€™s backers say they relate to claims made in 2003 where there were different interpretations of the guidelines.
MPs have explained to VEXNEWS that repayments prompted by differing views of the remuneration guidelines and even subsequent amendment of those rules occur reasonably frequently.
VEXNEWS understands the Remuneration Tribunal actually changed its rules to correct â€“ in Slipperâ€™s favour â€“ an anomaly that was costing him money that didnâ€™t effect other MPs due to the location of airports and such.
Slipperâ€™s backers say he has nothing to hide or fear from close scrutiny of his expenses claims.
In some cases expenses are incurred on an MPâ€™s behalf by the Department and attributed to their name without their knowledge until after the event.
Slipperâ€™s supporters also strongly dispute claims that any wrongdoing has occurred in relation to party funds, saying that Slipper was never actually a signatory on any party accounts and that the accounts were transferred in the normal, correct way following the merger of the Liberal and National parties into the LNP.
His backers in the LNP arenâ€™t certain about his next move, with them pointing to both Malcolm Turnbull and Warren Entsch as being examples of people who had made decisions to spend more time with their family but then ultimately decided they preferred Canberra after all. â€œHasty retirement decisions can be later regretted,â€ one explained.
Mal Brough â€“ the disgruntled former federal MP who had a massive falling-out with the LNP hierarchy during and after the party merger â€“ has moved into Slipperâ€™s seat of Fisher on Queenslandâ€™s beautiful Sunshine Coast but that he is long-time resident of the area so the move might not necessarily be a political one. His family lives in the area with his brother â€“ the former game-show host â€“ serving as a local newsreader.
â€œBrough is still not yet a member of the LNPâ€ one well-placed observer pointed out today, although he is not restricted from joining despite his strongly expressed hostility to the LNP merger.
Slipperâ€™s supporters arenâ€™t sure whatâ€™s prompted this very strong campaign against him but they point to the official statements of party leader Tony Abbott who strongly advised members at a party room meeting that they were act in a restrained way with the newly elected Deputy Speaker.