When Peter Slipper was Speaker all hell broke loose over the misappropriation of cab charges totally around $900. Tony Abbott had this to say:
“The Speaker is the guardian of parliamentary standards. The Speakership is one of the most important offices in the Parliament. The Speaker is there to uphold the integrity of the Parliament and now we have very, very serious allegations against the incumbent Speaker, allegations … of potentially criminal misuse of entitlements. These are very serious allegations indeed. Yes, the Speaker is entitled to the presumption of innocence but he does have quite a lot of explaining to do.
It’s also very important that the Prime Minister act to ensure the integrity of the Parliament. … The Prime Minister, to uphold the integrity of the Parliament, needs now to require the Speaker to step down until these matters are resolved. It’s also incumbent upon the Australian Federal Police to swiftly investigate the potentially criminal allegations that have been made against the Speaker.
I can’t underestimate the seriousness of this. The Speaker is required to maintain parliamentary standards and yet there are now these extremely serious allegations against the Speaker himself. So in order to maintain the respect and the reputation of the Parliament, in order to preserve the integrity of the Government and our institutions, it is very important that the Prime Minister act swiftly to require the Speaker to step aside and it’s very important that the Australian Federal Police quickly investigate these matters so that they can be resolved as soon as is humanly possible”.
I thought – based on his hardcore beliefs that Speakers need to uphold certain standards and that these are to be upheld by the Prime Minister – that he would go into an absolute rage over Bronwyn Bishop’s arguable misappropriation of $5,200 of tax payer’s money to hire a helicopter (of all things) to get from A to B.
“He is sure to join in with the public outrage”, I thought. He set the goal posts during the Slipper saga. But no, he had this to say: it was all “village gossip“.
At least Christopher Pyne could be trusted to stand by his word:
“The Opposition is calling for Peter Slipper to stand aside until he has been cleared of all the allegations against him, as the embattled Speaker faces new claims of travel rorts.
Mr Slipper stood aside yesterday from his position as Speaker of the House of Representatives while criminal charges about his possible misuse of taxpayer funded Cabcharges are being investigated.
Mr Pyne has also called on the government to help resolve the matter by going to an election.
“He is sure to join in with the public outrage”, I thought (once again). But no, he had this to say: “Awful on the day we remember the anniversary of the destruction of MH17 that Labor wants to play politics over the Speakership”.
Hypocrites the pair of them. Either that, or different rules apply to the Liberal Party.