Statements by Gillard independent, Tony Windsor on the deal to make Peter Slipper Speaker of the House of Representatives reveal a great deal about his own character. Slipper has a fairly serious alcohol problem and a sense of entitlement that has resulted in profligate use of expenses over the years, as well as having an increasingly dysfunctional relationship with his own party.
Matters between the Liberal Party and Slipper came to a head a week ago when he invited former PM Kevin Rudd to his electorate at the same time as former Liberal PM John Howard was visiting to do a fundraiser for a state candidate a few kilometers away. While Abbott and his federal colleagues tried to keep a lid on it, the long-suffering state branch was outraged.
Windsor however sees nothing wrong with Slipper and believes it is all the fault of the Liberal National Party:
Independent Tony Windsor yesterday described Slipper's ascension as an own goal for the Coalition. "Obviously the government would be pleased about that, but I think they can thank the opposition . . . it has been obvious that there has been a witch-hunt on for Peter Slipper in his own seat and his own state," Windsor said.Windsor has shown a seething resentment towards his own electorate over the reaction within it to his deal to put Gillard in power. Here he has demonstrated his belief that an MP should be immune to criticism of his conduct. He would have to be more than dumb, possibly Oakeshott dumb, not to be aware that the problems existed long before the Rudd visit. Slipper has been bad news for the coalition for a long time.
"People, nine (or) 10 months ago, they knew this was a potential possibility and in a sense they have driven the man to a position where they are not going to preselect him again anyway, so what's in it for him to lose?”
Neighboring Liberal MP, Alex Somlyay, has been scathing over Slipper’s conduct for years, writing 18 months ago:
"Slipper has a disgraceful reputation both in his electorate and in the parliament," Somlyay wrote. "Many of the people I see in my electorate office are his constituents who refuse to deal with Slipper. I have a constant stream of complaints about his behaviour . . . You will be aware of . . . the refusal of Qantas to fly him to Darwin after off-loading him in Gove for abusing staff and drunken behaviour.” …
"While I prefer to spend my spare time in my electorate, he has the highest frequent-flyer points on the backbench. He also has the highest mobile phone usage and oveseas travel of any Queensland MP. Comcar drivers dread the thought of driving him.Windsor and his Labor mates are fellow dead politicians walking and should be welcome to keep Slipper.
"I cannot understand how you would support this discredited person. I can only assume that you support his actions and continued bad behaviour.”