Tuesday, 22 May 2012
A Post for the Australians among us who are interested in union funded prostitution.
Every claim he made, as incredible as each was, could be the truth. And as we know, ‘truth is stranger than fiction’.
But if he was lying, he has now sealed his fate because, although a civil action, (as Peter Slipper faces on sexual harassment charges) is not grounds for immediate dismissal from Parliament by the Parliament. Misleading Parliament’ certainly is.
As he rightly claimed, he has not been charged with any criminal offence and police have already declared he has no case to answer. However there are questions unanswered that, although not of a legal nature, leave him in moral limbo. Unfortunately, those questions, particularly his alleged use of ‘escort services’ paid for using his (union account) credit card, will probably remain unanswered unless certain ‘escort’ girls are called to give evidence. That would be an event not to be missed!
I thought his assertion that, on three of the times his credit card was used to pay for ‘escort services’, he was either not in the state, or was attending a function, proves his credit card was used without him being there. If it was true for those occasions, it is not just possible, but very likely true for the others. Another curious assertion, that when the credit card was used, including times he could not have been there, his ‘identity’ was verified by his driver’s licence number, not by presentation of the actual licence. As he said, when one presents a photo licence for identification, no record is kept of its number. A record of the number is kept only when a licence cannot be viewed.
As for the claims he misused Union money for personal gain, his re-election campaign and donations to a charity, the Electoral Commission has now declared his actions perfectly proper. So what is left to do? In my opinion, his claims must be thoroughly investigated by the Federal Police then on the evidence, he is either dismissed from Parliament, with all appropriate penalties applied, or reinstated with full rights and respect.
With that done, we do need a Code of Parliamentary Conduct to prevent ‘trial by media’ being used to undermine the duly elected government of the day. We are seeing respect for Parliament being destroyed, as individuals are personally attacked with allegations presented as fact. Before demands for resignations are made, allegations must be investigated and tested in court. With that code in place, presumption of innocence will be applied inside Parliament as it is outside. That is not to desert the principal of Parliamentary Privilege. There is no reason questions should not be asked so matters can be opened for scrutiny. But that is where it must end. If there are allegations against an individual, there can be no calls for resignation or further comment until a court, or the Senate sitting as a court with powers to call witnesses, decides.
PS: On a lighter note, with the Government so desperate not to lose its excruciatingly thin majority should Craig Thompson be dismissed, it would be hilarious if (independent) Bob Katter, Member for Kennedy and perennial eccentric was offered the post of Speaker.
I did post that possibility as a joke a while ago, so for a laugh go back for a look. It just might happen! Unfortunately, Iron Bar Tuckey, who was given a leading role in that post, is no longer in Parliament.