Slipper steps aside as Speaker

Last updated 16:35 08/05/2012
Peter Slipper
ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN/ FAIRFAX AUSTRALIA
Peter Slipper is standing aside as Speaker of the House in Australia while federal police investigate allegations he misused Cabcharges.

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Australia's Speaker of the House, Peter Slipper, is stepping aside while federal police investigate claims he misused taxi dockets.

He made a statement to Parliament today saying his role would be filled by Deputy Speaker Anna Burke until the issues surrounding him were resolved.

"I invite the deputy speaker to take the chair," he said.

Speaking in Parliament he denied the allegations and he was entitled to the presumption of innocence.

Australian Federal Police have begun a formal criminal investigation into allegations the independent MP misused Cabcharges.

Mr Slipper, who quit the Liberal Party last year when he became Speaker, also faces a civil lawsuit brought by his adviser James Ashby involving allegations of sexual harassment between January and March this year.

"I believe I am entitled, like any other person, to have the presumption of innocence," he said.

"I am also entitled to have these matters dealt with by proper process."

Mr Slipper lamented that trial by media had become "the order of the day" in Australia and said it was not appropriate.

He urged the house to consider what he was trying to achieve as Speaker, adding he believed the broader community appreciated his efforts to ensure the house worked in the way intended to.

"My understanding is that there is general appreciation in the broader community of what I am hoping to achieve as Speaker," he said.

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- AAP

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