Peter Slipper’s disgraced return to the floor of parliament has altered the numbers by one vote but its impact on the behaviour of fellow independents may be much bigger.

Not happy. Pic: Kym Smith

Already Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie, who began this term of minority government as a friend of Labor, is using his elbows.

He is furious at being dudded on a deal to introduce tough new anti-pokies laws - a betrayal only made possible by the orchestrated defection of Slipper last November from Team Abbott to the Speaker’s chair.

That bit of cleverness gave Labor the use of the Harry Jenkins’s vote, while lowering Tony Abbott’s number by one.

Crucially, it meant Mr Wilkie lost the implied threat of bringing the Government down if he switched sides.

Now that Mr Slipper is back in the ruck, so too is Mr Wilkie. The outspoken former intelligence analyst, once again holds a pivotal vote only this time, he is not inclined to be so friendly and trusting.

Tellingly, he voted with the Coalition on Tuesday to oust the Speaker on the basis that the latter’s lurid text messages had brought the parliament into disrepute.

Few could argue they hadn’t done even if Julia Gillard gave it a red-hot go.

But it was Mr Wilkie, rather than the Government, who was vindicated only hours later when Mr Slipper yielded. Mr Wilkie let his displeasure at the whole sordid affair be known in a terse press statement.

As it turns out, it was two other independents, Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, who played the most important role in bringing the Speaker down by directly forcing his hand behind the scenes.

That took place literally during the white-hot parliamentary debate over his future. Mr Windsor had already seen the sin-binned Speaker an hour before the Question Time ambush but then went back with Mr Oakeshott even as the parliamentary shouting match proceeded.

At this second meeting, their demand was outlined to Mr Slipper directly: we will not vote you out via the Abbott motion but you have to agree to resign today.

The eventual vote was a knife-edged 69 votes to 70. Slipper survived but by then, he was already toast.

All eyes now turn to the more complex task before the Government in wrangling what will be an extra five votes from the total of eight MPs not formally aligned to either side.

Three of those, the former Labor MP Craig Thomson, the Greens’ Adam Bandt, and The WA Nationals’ Tony Crook are as good as locked in - the former two to the ALP and the latter one to the Coalition. Another in Bob Katter is a renegade by nature but he is also a conservative fellow-traveller and would rarely be inclined to support Labor.

That leaves the Government relying on Messrs Windsor and Oakeshott, with whom they concur on many things and particularly on confidence and supply matters as per an agreement reached in 2010. The wild-cards in any vote then are either Mr Wilkie or Mr Slipper and more likely both at the same time.

In truth, it is anyone’s guess what these two will do.

Mr Wilkie knows a thing or two about how to use a balance of power vote and has fresh millions for a hospital in his Hobart electorate to prove it.

But what about Mr Slipper? True he was hounded out by his old mates in the Coalition but he was surprisingly conciliatory towards Mr Abbott in his resignation speech. What did that mean if anything?

On the one hand, he’s a natural conservative and would regain a measure of right-wing cred for voting a Labor government down if it came to that.

On the other hand, he’s been replaced as the LNP’s endorsed candidate for Fisher at the next election by a man he viscerally loathes: former Howard government minister, Mal Brough.

In the end, it might be his refusal to give Brough what he so desperately wants that stops Mr Slipper from hurrying Labor out the door.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEST.

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    • Penguin says:

      11:20am | 11/10/12

      Many of us are waiting for an Independent to do the right thing for Australia by pulling the plug on the ALP_Greens Govt of disasters.

    • Murray says:

      12:16pm | 11/10/12

      Many of us are happy that the Independents are doing the right thing by stopping Abbott from becoming a disaster of a PM.

    • Terry2 says:

      12:17pm | 11/10/12

      After Mr Abbott’s major blunder on the pensioner’s electricity account - the bill had increased substantially and Abbott, in the parliament, blamed this on the carbon tax. But the fact was that her consumption had doubled.
      This was not only perverting the truth and misleading the parliament but it reflects on his judgement and on the veracity of his advisers. Urgent questions are being asked within the Liberal Party as to whether this man can actually lead the coalition to a win in the next election. It may be prudent to dump Abbott now, while there is still time to settle in a new leader.

    • neil says:

      12:27pm | 11/10/12

      Won’t happen, Slipper, Thomson, Windsor, Bandt and Oakeshott will all loose their seats at the next election so they will hang on to Gillards coat tails for as long as they can.

      Wilke will probably hold his seat but he can’t do it alone and Crook seems happy to stay under the radar.

    • Tom says:

      12:27pm | 11/10/12

      Don’t hold your breath waiting for Wilkie. His so called independence is a scam. Wilkie is a Labor “true believer” not an independent with a conscience..

    • Nicko says:

      12:33pm | 11/10/12

      But you do realise that the ‘Government of disasters’ is just spin, don’t you?

      And how would Abbott better deal with the economic turmoil in the world affecting Australia, say?  Or manage the boom and bust mining industry (given Howard and Costello blew the proceeds when they had a boom).  Please be specific and not just rely on rote cliches learnt from Abbott or the biased media. Perhaps putting on a hi-vis vest will work or he has some magic dust?

      And where is the competency in the Coalition - they don’t even read letters before signing them. Again please be specific, and not just bay like a member of a dumb lynch mob at the gates.

      You also know the Independents saw the Coalition’s costed promises after the last election. The ones the Coalition sought to hide (with good political reason) with a fake argument about leaks and security at Treasury. The ones they lied repeatedly in claiming were audited, when they had specifically asked Dodgy Brothers Accountants (something like that, anyway) specifically in writing that they not be audited.

      Anyway, those numbers. They were so bad and so incompetent (putting on a hi-vis vest doesn’t mean that one can count the proceeds of Medibank Private AFTER it is sold) that the Independents had no economic choice.

      A rabble led by hollow ideologue will be better than this government which is not inspired, but pretty steady? I don’t think so.

    • Tom says:

      12:55pm | 11/10/12

      Not a bad point Terry2. I am an Abbott supporter but he has been caught with the pants down more than once. Whereas his forbearance in the last week under volcanic attack from Labor’s male-haters was inspirational, his propensity for embarrassing “whoopsies” remains. He needs to tighten up his preparation before 2013 comes around.

    • Tom says:

      01:06pm | 11/10/12

      Nicko, most people agree that Rudd went over the top in the GFC spending and that Australia should have let the China boom bail us out. The Libs called it that way at the time and were vindicated.

      Howard and Costello did not blow the proceeds of anything. They left a healthy surplus.

      “Dodgy Brothers Accountants”, hardly worth answering but, in case you had not noticed, Treasury works for the government at the time and are not an independent assessor of the merits of Abbott’s accountants. If you believe anyone but Swan wrote that assessment you are sad.

    • dovif says:

      01:12pm | 11/10/12

      Nicko said

      “You also know the Independents saw the Coalition’s costed promises after the last election.”

      They saw the figures of the ALP, too back the ALP got it wrong by $50 billion and treasury just accepted it. That is how we got to $160, billion in debt

    • Bear says:

      01:54pm | 11/10/12

      @terry2 that was no blunder, just a lie. Like the supposed Craig Thompson letter ‘mistake’. Two in two days. Too much of a coiincidence. When they get caught out on their lies it was a ‘mistake’ and luckily for them stupid media commentators play along. They all have armies of advisers to check things, these ‘mistakes’ just don’t happen.

    • Anubis says:

      01:56pm | 11/10/12

      @ Nicko - you say “And where is the competency in the Coalition - they don’t even read letters before signing them”

      Where is the competency in Labor - do you recal when Emmerson was interviewed on TV regarding some statements Julia made

      “I fully endorse the comments of the Prime Minister, I do not know what she said, but I am in full support of the comments”

      Jesus H Christ - sycophant or what? Maybe he was hoping to ingratiate himself with his ex-lover by being such a total lickspittle.

    • Ozymandius says:

      02:34pm | 11/10/12

      @Tom: Dude, when you have stood up and declared that major countries are going to war based on lies, then resigned your job over it… then you will have the right to criticise Andrew Wilkie. The man has more guts and integrity in his little finger than than any other politician in Canberra. While he has so far failed in regards to the Poker Machines, his failure can be set fully at the feet of our lying Prime Minister.

    • Bear says:

      03:38pm | 11/10/12

      @dovif now common you ceaselessly whine about Juliar but tell such blatant lies yourself. Are your parties followers that dumb? Well yes, but the undecided I hope are not.

    • Bear says:

      03:47pm | 11/10/12

      Come on. Stupid auto correct!

    • RMB says:

      04:25pm | 11/10/12

      @Dovif. Nice find.

      Pretty much confirms my suspicions from the start. The whole speech sounded way too contrived, loaded with faux outrage, and really wasn’t relevant to the question he asked. She just used it as the excuse to launch into her little dog and pony routine. I wonder how Sharwood feels after his little pom pom cheerleading session the other day. Wasn’t so “off the cuff” afterall hey Ant?

      The way it found itself into the Global arena in such a short space of time seemed fishy to say the least. Popping up here, there and everywhere inside the space of about 6 hours.

      As if Global news services trawl question time in the Australian parliament looking for newsworthy items. Give me a break!

      The whole affair has McTernan’s grubby mitts all over it. Let’s not forget, he has form in exactly these kind of shenanigans.

    • London Calling says:

      04:47pm | 11/10/12

      ‘Jesus H Christ’  Anubis says:

      No Jesus, aint going to help you, he don’t like it when you tell porkies.

      It was Bill Shorten not Emmerson.

    • John says:

      04:50pm | 11/10/12


      It was a completely real speech, full of real outrage. Australia still can’t believe that Tony Abbott would parrot Alan Jones just days after he’d been universally condemned as the lowest of the low.

    • Nicko says:

      05:00pm | 11/10/12


      Most people means the baying mob? Or the Nobel Prize winning economist who called the response the best intervention by a government seen anywhere at any time? Methinks you have fallen for the spin and the bizarre fact that the perception in Australia is so poisoned and so far removed from independent assessments

      The China boom stalled, with the mining industry shedding at least 10% of its workforce after the GFC.  It is pure fiction that the Coalition who pretended there wasn’t really a problem at the time got it right. Typical Liberal rewriting of history.

      Every western country went into deficit - even Abbott and Hockey have acknowledged a Coalition govt would have too. It would be too big a porky even for them and that is really saying something. Doesn’t stop the blind apologists though. Next you will be saying Howard never lied over the GST ...

      The big fear for Liberal hacks is that the necessary deficit will be paid back - hence the persistent attempts to talk down the economy. If not this year, then the next or so unless things degenerate further internationally. And do you believe Abbott has the solution to that?

      The Treasury at any time assess claims in the same terms and the same assumptions. You simply have to do that to make comparisons. And they are the only body that knows what is in the kitty. This latter point is one reason for the multi-billion dollar Abbott black hole - he promised spending against funds that simply did not have enough in them. Remember, even Coalition governments used the Treasury too.

      It is naive to believe that the change to a private assessment (and then the lie that it was an audit) was anything other than trying to hide the facts. I suspect you know this very well.

      Howard frittered the big windfall from the boom on tax cuts, middle class welfare, baby bonuses and the like. The surplus should have been bigger and their should have been a proper sovereign fund to buffer the later shocks. They spent like drunken sailors in 2007 to try to bribe their way back into power (this is all a matter of record as records of spending are kept).

      Add to that idiocies like $1.2 billion for 1 helicopters that couldn’t even fly in the rain and Costello’s infamous fire sale of Australia’s gold reserves doing us out of billions and things should have been even better.

      They were just lucky, whereas Labor was sideswiped by the GFC.  Inflation, the big bugbear, was going down for 5 or more years before 1996. Then the false period before the GFC. The big boom from China etc.

      Compare this to the mess when Howard was Treasurer in the ‘80s. Horror numbers - the worst combination of interest rates and inflation in history - and a massive deficit left for Labor. It is rubbish to believe that someone has perfect control just because they are from the Liberal Party. Sheer idiocy, in fact.

    • SAm says:

      11:36am | 11/10/12

      I wonder if the over the top viciousness that has previously been directed at Mr Wilkie going to continue, now that he occaisonally votes for the side of those accusing this guy (and the other indepandants) of all manner of horrible things.
      You’d think being an indepent gave you your own free voice, but from Ive seen the past few years, if you dont vote with the Liberals, your scum and shouldnt have been elected

    • murray says:

      12:17pm | 11/10/12

      Hopefully Wilkie will bring down the government ....but only after the Libs get rid of the odious Abbott.

    • TimB says:

      12:19pm | 11/10/12

      Actually I don’t think Wilkie hasn’t copped much at all. Nor should he.

      Wilkie is actually representing his community. I may not agree with his views, but I cannot fault him for performing the role he’s supposed to play. Even Bandt is doing what Melbourne expects of him.

      It’s Oakeshott and Windsor who have defied the wishes of the voters who put them into office. And as their involvement in the above farce concerning the Slipper fiasco confirms, neither of them appear to have any scruples.

      It’s not about ‘voting with the Liberals’. It’s about representing the wishes of your electorate.

    • Tom says:

      12:37pm | 11/10/12

      Err, .... Liberals? Yeah, didn’t the ALP give Mal Coulston a warm “howdy friend” after the Whitlam dismissal.

    • Mahhrat says:

      12:48pm | 11/10/12

      I’m in Wilkie’s electorate (Denison).  Like or hate his politics, he got royally screwed and still managed to secure $350 million for the Royal Hobart Hospital.  That’s just one of a number of things he’s actually done.

      He is most certainly not towing the ALP line if his publications are anything to go by.  We get his letter drop at home.  He is seriously, seriously unhappy with the ALP and JG, rightly so.  It’s an interesting time.

    • it's time says:

      12:54pm | 11/10/12

      If Gillard needed support from Windsor and Oakshott to blow up their electorate they would still support her.
      I always laugh when journo’s say I wonder which way Oakeshott and Windsor will go. They always huff and bluster like they did for 17 days and then they support Gillard. They both detest Abbott. Would never support Abbott.
      Would be interesting to see what would happen if the Libs changed leader who they would support.
      C’mon Libs get rid of Abbott and put Turnbull back in. I’m a Lib supporter but even I have had enough of Abbott.  Also had enough of Gillard but Gillard is an asset to the Libs. Leave her there.
      And no I’m not a Labor supporter in disguise. I just can’t take anymore of the Abbott v Gillard show.

    • Tom says:

      01:11pm | 11/10/12

      Mahrat, don’t mistake Wilkie’s posturing for the real thing. He is Labor through and through. He calls himself independent to distance himself from Labor’s stench in the eyes of the voter but it is no more than that.

    • Tom says:

      01:14pm | 11/10/12

      TimB, what an extraordinarily novel view, “representing your electorate”. I will consider it at our next caucus meeting. It should get a laugh.

    • TimB says:

      01:51pm | 11/10/12

      “TimB, what an extraordinarily novel view”

      I know Tom. I’m full of crazy radical ideas like that. smile

    • Boo erns says:

      02:01pm | 11/10/12

      You can be sure the Libs will be sucking up to all of them now (privately if not publicly) in the hope of wooing one.

    • Ozymandius says:

      02:41pm | 11/10/12

      @TimB: Absolutely. I am in Andrew Wilkie’s electorate, and for the first time in my adult life, I can honestly say that I am being represented by someone with both guts and integrity. I’ll be voting for him again, in the event he wishes to continue associating with politics.

    • John says:

      04:54pm | 11/10/12

      Oakeshott and Windsor were elected as Independents, just like Andrew Wilkie.

    • Ms Lulu says:

      11:42am | 11/10/12

      Oh what a tangle web we weave when at first we start to deceive ....

    • Charles says:

      11:45am | 11/10/12

      I don’t see how Windsor and Oakeshott can claim any high ground here by voting for Slipper to retain his position while they had already agreed he had to go.  Don’t you see this as just a teensy bit spiteful towards the coalition and Tony Abbott?

    • Mahhrat says:

      12:14pm | 11/10/12

      Not at all.

      Tony wanted him trialled and executed by the Lower House.  That is a gross misappropriation of the powers of the house, and our constitution rightly calls against exactly that sort of thing.

      What the independants did was actually exactly correct - they went and spoke to the man, said they wouldn’t be part of Tony’s very borderline power play but said he needed to go regardless.

      I have to say, it’s probably the best outcome.  Slipper had to go - he’d brought the position into disrepute and his behaviour was unconscionable and pretty bloody average to boot.  Saying that, had Tony’s motion got up it would have set a dangerous precendent as to where the power of the government ends and that of the judiciary begins.

    • marley says:

      12:25pm | 11/10/12

      @Mahrat:  “That is a gross misappropriation of the powers of the house, and our constitution rightly calls against exactly that sort of thing.”

      Umm, not exactly.  “The Speaker shall cease to hold his office if he ceases to be a member. He may be removed from office by a vote of the House, or he may resign his office or his seat by writing addressed to the Governor?General. ”

      That’s from Sec 35 of the Constitution.  Not only does the Constitution not prohibit the House removing the Speaker, it makes specific provision for it.

    • Tim says:

      12:28pm | 11/10/12

      Exactly Mahrat,
      what the Independents did was far more reasonable and moral then letting themselves becoming involved in Tony and Julia’s stupidity.

    • JT says:

      12:29pm | 11/10/12


      What bloody planet do you live on?

      ‘‘The Speaker’s authority is derived from the House, to which his or her duty lies and to which he or she is answerable. Just as the Speaker is elected by the House, he or she may be removed from office by a vote of the House.’‘

      The PM, Labor and the independents failed in their duty to have him removed from office. A few hours later Slipper did the right thing and resigned making the PM, Labor and the independents look like absolute fools for supporting him (as usual).

    • nihonin says:

      12:32pm | 11/10/12

      What a crock of crap, Mahhrat.  They revealed themselves to be hypocrites, that’s about all.

    • dovif says:

      12:48pm | 11/10/12


      Also the Speaker is the 2nd most powerful person in the house of Representative. The Question was asked whether Slipper’s comment made him a fit and proper person, The Coalition, Windsor, Oakeshott, Wilkie and Katter did not think he was, the only person who through he was was the ALP and the Greens

      Female parliamentarian have to deal with the speaker daily, as the article said, Windsor and Oakeshott was more then willing to vote against Slipper, if he did not willingly give up his role as speaker

      They just left him with a little bit more dignity

    • TimB says:

      12:53pm | 11/10/12

      “Tony wanted him trialled and executed by the Lower House.  That is a gross misappropriation of the powers of the house, and our constitution rightly calls against exactly that sort of thing”

      Since when?

      The Parliament appoints the speaker. They can vote him out too.

    • T-rev says:

      02:21pm | 11/10/12

      ** tumbleweed blows past ***

      Mahhrat has shot through smile

    • Mahhrat says:

      02:33pm | 11/10/12

      Apologies: My sources were not as robust as they should be.

      Tumbleweed blowing through?  Be serious, I made a mistake and got called on it.  Fair cop.

      Unlike most, I’m happy to admit when I stuffed up.

    • Charles says:

      04:43pm | 11/10/12

      Nice recovery Mahhrat, shows a bit of class.  But I still think the two independents were spiteful towards the opposition and show no character at all

    • marley says:

      06:41pm | 11/10/12

      @Mahrat - good for you.  Integrity is a valuable thing, and you have it. 

      And by the way, I don’t disagree with your underlying point - that the handling of this mess was shambolic.

    • Lance says:

      11:45am | 11/10/12

      How long can this fiasco continue?  We had a tantrum by the PM the other day, scandal after scandal every week, and still the circus continues!  How can this mess be allowed to continue is beyond me??!!

    • james says:

      12:26pm | 11/10/12

      Turbull as leader could woo them.

      Abbott has to stop the hate.

    • TimB says:

      12:55pm | 11/10/12

      “Turbull as leader could woo them.”

      Turnbull can’t even woo his own party members.

      And before anyone starts chanting ‘one vote”, kindly look at your calendar and realise that it is no longer 2009.

    • dovif says:

      01:09pm | 11/10/12


      The discussion of the failing of government policy is not hate. Abbott regularly discuss policies.

      It is not like Abbott keep calling Gillard Sexist, the mad monk, Dr No etc

      It is only hate when it became personal, for example when Julia fake anger against Abbott, in her bid to save the Misorgynistic Slipper from losing his job

    • Harry says:

      01:11pm | 11/10/12

      james both of them need to stop the hate. They both need to go.
      I can’t understand how either party continue on with them as their leaders. The whole country can’t stand either of them.
      Gillard has given up on acting or being a “Prime Minister” and has become the “Leader of womens equality movement” or something like that, she could probably tell you her title.
      It’s over the top and ridiculas. It has just become a punch and judy show between the both of them.  Boring and as stupid as shit.

    • paul says:

      01:13pm | 11/10/12

      James this turnbull thing is crud, he is not a true conservative and the majority of the lib base are not interested in him.
      The only people that want turnbull is labor as they know they will then have a chance of winning.

    • james says:

      01:44pm | 11/10/12

      The liberal party united behind turnbull would have wooed the conservative country independents.

      Turnbull has the gravitas, and would wipe the floor with both of the current leaders. He was only tested against Rudd’s 70% approval and was done in by Abetz the snake in the grass.

    • Peta says:

      01:50pm | 11/10/12

      paul, I’m not sure that the majority of lib base not being interested in him. I think more and more people are thinking it might be a good idea.
      Labor have no chance of winning no matter who is leader of the libs.
      It would be interesting watching all the Labor luvies including the Labor party themselves dealing with him as leader again after all the accolades they give him these days. I seriously think Abbott has run his race, he’s done a terrific job as oppostion leader but enough is enough now. Only 12 months to go and if the libs change they need to do it soon. Turnbull would make a good PM. The jury is out on Abbott.

    • TB says:

      02:05pm | 11/10/12

      “this turnbull thing is crud, he is not a true conservative and the majority of the lib base are not interested in him.
      The only people that want turnbull is labor as they know they will then have a chance of winning. “

      Got anything to back up your opinion?

      This may open your eye a bit.
      “Malcolm Turnbull has stretched his lead over Tony Abbott as the preferred Liberal leader and for the first time has majority support among Coalition voters.”
      “Nielsen poll shows 63 per cent of all voters prefer Mr Turnbull as the Coalition leader, compared with 30 per cent for Mr Abbott.”
      “A breakdown shows that in the past three months, support for Mr Turnbull among Coalition voters has risen 4 points to 53 per cent while Mr Abbott has fallen 5 points to 45 per cent, giving Mr Turnbull an eight-point lead.”

    • TimB says:

      02:33pm | 11/10/12

      “The liberal party united behind turnbull would have wooed the conservative country independents.”

      The Liberal party united behind Turnbull wouldn’t have got a chance to woo them, and we’d be deep into Kevin Rudd’s second term right now.

      Tony Abbott is leader for a reason. One day the Left will understand why. Probably the day after the next election.

    • james says:

      02:51pm | 11/10/12

      Tony Abbott is the ALP’s only hope. Why take a chance when there is a odds on favourite to win the race sitting on the sidelines?

    • SOTON says:

      04:09pm | 11/10/12

      Yep, cue Jo Jo’s Circus theme

    • paul says:

      04:26pm | 11/10/12

      @Peta , I agree on that. However I want Abbott in control after the next election as he will attempt to dismantle this disastrous carbon tax, Malcolm wouldn’t do that. I mean when 10% of revenue raised is going to the UN there is no doubt in my mind this is a scam. However I would not be to against a Turn bull government a few years into Abbotts reign.
      @TB TO be honest I with living on the Sunshine Coast and that was the overwhelming view I was getting from constituents, and I guess I am also referring the the nationals base. But you are right it was an assumptive statement to say the whole lib base.
      “Nielsen poll shows 63 per cent of all voters prefer Mr Turnbull as the Coalition leader”- TB that is because labor voters and green voters who wouldn’t vote for the coalition anyway are getting there opinion.
      On your last poll number fair enough!

    • Running on empty says:

      11:52am | 11/10/12

      We were all played when it comes to the terms and conditions that PS was granted in handing in his resignation from the role of speaker. Why was he given a choice in walking over being pushed - That itself needs looking into - My bet is that It was the likes of Albanese, no doubt Swan and Gillard, along with VotesRshot and Windsor that rubbed further salt into the faces of the voting public as they all knew that PS was going to quite the position of speaker but held out thus allowing the PM the chance at hitting the headlines with her ABBOTT BAD spiel.

    • wolf says:

      11:53am | 11/10/12

      “Now that Mr Slipper is back in the ruck, so too is Mr Wilkie.”
      Nope, sorry, can’t see Slipper backing the coalition now.  Especially not in light of the Ashby saga and the loss of pre-selection. He knows his goose is cooked and it’s in his personal interest to stretch out the term as long as possible if he wants to keep his snout in the public trough.
      This vote changes nothing in terms of numbers, however like Thompson the ALP will do whatever it takes to keep him in parliament until the election. In the meantime the media cycle will continue to be dominated by “Abbott is a sexist who is mean to girls” in lieu of any serious scrutiny of government policy.

    • esteban says:

      12:52pm | 11/10/12

      Sadly I agree with you entirely wolf.

    • james says:

      02:45pm | 11/10/12

      Ask senator cormann, he likes thommo

    • Huonian says:

      11:56am | 11/10/12

      Andrew Wilkie, Tony Crook and Bob Katter are the independents who have no need to fear an early election. 

      Rob Oakeshott, Tony Windsor, Peter Slipper, Craig Thomson and Adam Bandt are all history at the next election.

      As five of the independents would be signing their own political demise by forcing an early election, it’s unlikely to happen.  But, a moment of madness and it’s all over for the PM. 

      The PM will need all her considerable skills and wits about her just to survive until this time next year.  Her recent desperate descent into gender politics indicates she is losing it.  Just at the time that polls were suggesting her stoicism and tenacity was starting to get Labor back into the race.

      On balance, she is a good PM.  While the Labor Party needs to be kicked out so it can have a long hard think about what it stands for, it would be a great injustice if history regards Ms Gillard’s prime ministership as just one long stuff up.  And, by default, that K Rudd was an okay PM.  Yet it’s beginning to look like that may happen.  Ms G’s performance over the Slipper affair is a very low point in what really has otherwise been a pretty good performance in the most difficult of circumstances.  Has she lost the plot altogether?  Or will she actually lead for the next twelve months?

    • SOTON says:

      12:39pm | 11/10/12

      Yep, first it was the class war and now its the gender battle!

    • murray says:

      12:58pm | 11/10/12

      PM Gillard lurches from one disaster to another.
      If the Libs get their act together and replace Abbott with a competent, non-threatening, educated leader they could decimate and even wipeout the ALP for good.
      Unfortunately, most Liberal members have the attention span of a gnat and think the loudmouth, bully boy tactics of Abbott represent a decent alternative government.

    • Luke says:

      01:21pm | 11/10/12

      I’m with you on that murray. I’m sure a lot of Liberal supporters feel the same way but aren’t saying anything. I’m sure if they put Turnbull back in there would be a quiet sigh of releif from alot of Liberal supporters.

    • tez says:

      03:03pm | 11/10/12

      At least the PM can read a power bill. or was that his advisors fault .

    • Terbo59 says:

      11:59am | 11/10/12

      Not a bad piece and you didn’t mention misogyny once (praise the Lord). You forgot to mention though the double standards of Oakshot and Windsor in their actions! if they had any real ethics, as they claim to be of a higher moral order, they would have displayed this by not voting with the government on the Slipper issue, because voting for Slipper as they did is somewhat like saying to a guilty criminal that ‘we will give you a light sentence if you agree you did it’ notwithstanding all the evidence shows he did do it. So these two, along with the Government are not for justice or what is good for the nation, but for themselves. And luckily, it seems the majority of Aussies have deduced this already. A pity you journos don’t seem to be able to as well.

    • Esteban says:

      12:57pm | 11/10/12

      How many time have we heard Windsor repeat that Abbott told hin he “would do anything except sell his arse to form a Government”

      Yet has one journalist not picked upon the fact tha Windsor metaphorically “sold his arse” when he supported Slipper.

      Oakshot is also experiencing mild pain when sitting down.

    • Jones says:

      05:39pm | 11/10/12

      Obviously Abbott’s arse includes being “happy to take” Peter Slipper’s vote, just as it has for the last 18 years. At least we’ll never have to hear another word of his hypocrisy now.

    • Nikki says:

      12:15pm | 11/10/12

      What about Slipper’s electorate? They voted for the Coalition to represent them in Parliament. While he was speaker they were entirely unrepresented, and now he will vote with Labor. The people of Fisher Qld have been dudded and I imagine rather embarrassed by their MP and should demand a by-election.

    • John says:

      12:36pm | 11/10/12

      They voted for Peter Slipper to represent them in Parliament. It was his name that was on the ballot paper.

    • ChrisW says:

      12:59pm | 11/10/12

      The voted for Peter Slipper to represent them on the understanding that he was a member of the Coalition - and would represent them that way. That is why it is still correct (if uncomfortable) if the Opposition accepts his vote - because that represents the electorate.

    • I hate pies says:

      01:06pm | 11/10/12

      John, he was also a member of the Liberal party at the time; their name was alo on the ballot paper. A reasonable person, when voting for a member of the Liberal party, would expect that person to represent and upload the Liberal party’s policies.
      Try to spin it anyway you want, but they voted for the Libs

    • Mikeymike says:

      02:40pm | 11/10/12

      Is there a way for citizens of an electorate to put forward a no confidence motion in their own sitting member?


    • Gerard says:

      06:00pm | 11/10/12

      @I hate pies

      All I can say is: read the constitution.


      Officially, no. However it would be quite easy to make his position untenable if there was real antipathy towards him. Constant picketing of his office. Flooding his inbox, voicemail and fax machine with hundreds of constituents’ demands for his resignation- every single morning. Open letters printed in the local newspaper. Treating him as persona non grata at every public event. Or try the tactics used against Alan Jones- boycotts of all businesses that associate with him- including those which accept him as a customer. Make it clear that he’s not wanted. It’s really not that hard if people genuinely want him gone- but in Australia, I seriously doubt that people actually care enough.

    • Anthony says:

      12:19pm | 11/10/12

      Ask Wilkie what he thinks of Gillard! Shame would probably be a compliment.

    • Bongo Gum says:

      12:33pm | 11/10/12

      better than shakespeare! can only end badley :(

    • Mark says:

      12:36pm | 11/10/12

      Hey Murray, please stop using my email

    • lostinperth says:

      12:40pm | 11/10/12

      I think all the independents, with the exception of Katter and Crook, will be gone at the next election. Thompson and Slipper are toast, Oakshot and Windsor have alientated their mainly rural and conservative electorates. If Bandt gets the “preference Greens last” option as was done at the last state Victorian election,he will also be gone as he needed Liberal preferences to get across the line. Wilkie might survive, but he will be powerless in a parliament that is not “hung” so it is also likely that he will suffer a last preference option.

      Given the way Bandt and Wilkie have supported the ALP, it is unlikely that the Libs will preference them so it’s probably goodbye as well. Even tony crook, who does have strong local support may be in trouble.

      Could be that Bob Katter is all by himself on the cross benches.

      Which is why the independents continue to support Gillard. Call an election and they lose their big pay packet.

    • fg says:

      03:00pm | 11/10/12

      How is your goat going?

    • AdamC says:

      12:54pm | 11/10/12

      Gillard clearly picked Wilkie out as a political wimp. So far, he has done nothing to contradict her appraisal of him. He let Gillard get away with betraying him in a humiliating manner with barely a whimper.

    • Kathy says:

      12:55pm | 11/10/12

      Funny that the hypocrite Abbott is now seeking the vote of not only Slipper BUT also Thomson. Now that is hypocracy on a level never seen before. What a ghastly PM Abbott would make.

    • Sergeant Schultz says:

      02:02pm | 11/10/12

      Kathy….you know and i know that what you say here is not correct…but keep on dreaming….please comment again but with something kosher.

    • Two Cents worth says:

      02:08pm | 11/10/12

      @Kathy -  Seems strange, your comment that is, given that the Shadow Assistant Treasurer was the one that (inadvertently?) sent the letter to Thompson seeking his support Are there different stories going around? or is it just that Labor supporters read things into articles that just aren’t there, much like the government likes to spend money that just isn’t there!!!!

    • fred says:

      02:09pm | 11/10/12

      Thanks Kathy. Now I know what hyper bowl means.

    • Bear says:

      02:51pm | 11/10/12

      Yea right, accident. and it’s in the newspaper so it must be true. If anything, that proves nothing other it reeks of bs because their media mates have jumped to their defence. And on the day slipper quit!? Smells a bit like this famous line; “diedre chambers what a coincidence”!

    • james says:

      02:53pm | 11/10/12

      I thought Tony would never accept Thomsons vote?

      Was that a non core promise?

    • Bear says:

      03:22pm | 11/10/12

      There are protocols in how they communicate. There’s no way he’s accidentally sending Thompson a letter. He would have to sign it himself. So presumably he ‘forgot’  Thompson is the man we hate. So did the staffer who wrote it and the staffer who mailed it. Quite a run of forgetfulness!!!

    • neil says:

      03:41pm | 11/10/12

      He’s YOUR next PM.

      Gillard and Labor are finished. Turnbull is not coming back, and he knows it.

      Tony Abbott is the last man standing.

    • Bob says:

      01:37pm | 11/10/12

      The only Wild Card being dealt in Parliment is the gender card.

      I think Labor should heed Bob Carr’s remark that the point has been made - time to move on.

    • ruru says:

      01:38pm | 11/10/12

      Minority governments only work well when those involved know how to show respect, listen & negotiate in order to pass legislation that encompasses a broader cross section of the nation. Shame we lack the maturity to make it work.
      Labour has accused Abbott of lacking the ability to negotiate.
      In fact, even the independents were repelled by his ‘do anything except sell my arse’ pledge.
      It cost him dearly, & he’s been reacting like a spoilt brat ever since with his ” no, no, no dummy spits, along with his senseless negativity & at times blatant lies designed to smash & trash & frighten. The glass is always half full in Tonys world.
      All & sundry have got down & dirty in blow for blow public displays
      The spiralling state of things in the house has become a free for all, with no holds barred, protocol ignored, & dirtfiles used to destroy those in the way of Abbotts drive to be PM while Gillard fights back to hold her rightful and elected position as PM.
      Was it Oakshott who suggested the rules of behavior in parliament needs to be overhauled? And from which quater was this idea rejected?

    • pa_kelvin says:

      06:01pm | 11/10/12

      Sarcasm .....right?  It’s gotta be….....

    • PW says:

      01:42pm | 11/10/12

      Another point or two drift to Labor in the polls and they might be happy to face the people early. I’m far from convinced any Federal election is a foregone conclusion even were it to be held before Christmas.

    • k.marshall says:

      02:02pm | 11/10/12

      @But what about Mr Slipper? True he was hounded out by his old mates in the Coalition but he was surprisingly conciliatory towards Mr Abbott in his resignation speech. What did that mean if anything?

      Slipper in shock I would imagine…and hopefully trying to build bridges , not burn more down.
      This situation is so very rotten….and unfortunately taints how I see labor/greens/indpendents. I used to look down on them….now I could not even begin to evaluate the level of my distain.

    • fedup labourvoter says:

      02:08pm | 11/10/12

      Wilkie is the only independant with principles. This govt is heavily reliant on dubious characters, Thompson and now Slipper.  Don’t be mislead into thinking that slipper will vote with LNP, he already has voted once with Juliar, and he owes her a huge debt. He is just as important to Juliar’s power base now as he was when speaker. To give Windsor and Oakshot any credit for Slippers resignation, well you can just take it all back, as they both voted for this sexist misogynst, just like juliar did.  hypocricy is the hallmark of this govt and its supporters.

    • Onlooker says:

      02:56pm | 11/10/12

      I like all the Independents I am sure Andrew Wilkie will do the right thing..he does not seem to be a spiteful man to me. I was glad both Oakshot and Windsor gave Slipper a chance to resign. I thought it was the decent thing to do, despite the wailing’s from Julia Bishop to the contrary, I am not interested in seeing a lynch mob and I sure others aren’t

    • Ray Rivers says:

      03:10pm | 11/10/12

      A push for Malcolm (Rain Man) Turnbull is not a very wise move,especially for those who dislike The Carbon Tax.Once a Merchant Banker always a Merchant Banker.
      He and his ilk were rubbing their hands together at just the mention of a Carbon Trading scheme.

    • B. says:

      03:19pm | 11/10/12

      Wilkie could guarantee himself another three years if he facilitated a quick dismissal of Gillard and her union thugs.  From what I glean from Denison relatives he’s not too popular down there for backing Gillard and throwing away the LNP commitment to fund a brand new teaching hospital that would have attracted international research and specialists willing to relocate to Hobart.

      Wilkie will figure out what is right for himself and his family and do whatever it takes in hope he can retain his seat. He fell over the line on 20% of first preferences combined with Green preferences then finally with Liberal preferences.Greens are on the nose in Tasmania with their child-Premier Lara Giddings/Labor alliance.

      Wilkie will need to work out what his chances are of being re-elected if he pulls the plug early on the PM who lied and cheated him on her pokies promise, or the second option of waiting it out might give him a better chance of creeping over the line. My aunt and her family voted for him but when he took up with Gillard they vowed never again. They’ve heard that determination up and down their street.

      I think the first option has it.

    • Phil S says:

      05:04pm | 11/10/12

      What a perfect example of confirmation bias. I’m sure your aunt and family listen closely to what Labor/Andrew Wilkie supporters say. I’m sure they continue to associate heavily with people who would still vote Labor and Wilkie? Yep?

      Yeah didn’t think so.

      Your aunt has her views, and no doubt talks to other people who share her views. It doesn’t mean squat when the election rolls around.

      90% of people I talk to about politics support Labor/Greens. Does that mean they’ll win in a landslide? By your logic yes.

    • Liz says:

      04:16pm | 11/10/12

      How much long Mr Slipper needs to get his parliamentary pension will dictate how much longer he wants to stay in parliament????

    • Carol says:

      05:14pm | 11/10/12

      Peter has already been in parliament long enough to receive a pension. In fact I’d suggest a very good one.

    • Rose says:

      06:34pm | 11/10/12

      ....Many years ago I would’ve thought!!


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