Anglican church | Australia | Julia Gillard | Religion

Embattled Australian Speaker Peter Slipper Steps Down

PeterSlipperYesterday, i linked to this PinkNews article about Australian House Speaker Peter Slipper, who's become ensnared in what most media outlets are calling a "gay sex scandal," though nobody claims any actual sex was involved. CapitalFM News ably sums up the accusations:

Weekend reports alleged Peter Slipper harassed former staffer James Ashby, including telling him to shower with the door open when he stayed at his home, and “moaning” in a sexual manner after asking him for a massage.

The married Slipper, 62, was also accused of misusing taxpayer-funded taxi services.

The ABC said 33-year-old Ashby, who is openly gay, had launched legal action under the Fair Work Act detailing alleged explicit text messages, unwanted sexual advances and inappropriate comments towards him.

Separate reports said he was seeking compensation in the Federal Court as well as orders for his former employer to undergo counselling and anti-discrimination training.

Just to be clear, the person to whom Slipper is married is a woman.

The Slipper scandal broke in the newsmedia on Friday as Slipper wrapped up a trip to America. Upon his return to Australia on Sunday, he issued a statement in which he denied all allegations, but agreed to temporarily step aside as Speaker. Capital FM quotes Slipper's statement:

“The allegation is incorrect and once it is clear they are untrue I shall return to the speakership. In relation to the civil matter, there will be an appropriate process that will resolve the matter in due course.”

The situation for Slipper gets grimmer. Slipper's not only a professional politician and family-man; he's a priest in the Traditional Anglican Communion. Now his alleged friend, the Archbishop John Hepworth, is asking him to step down from that position as well. From The Australian:

"It is right for anyone accused of serious misconduct in public life, whether in church life or political life, to stand aside until the processes of justice reach a conclusion," Archbishop Hepworth said.

"Ministers of the crown and cardinals of the church have followed this sound principle in recent years in Australia; otherwise, the integrity of our core institutions is eroded, and our expectations of public morality further decay.

"As Peter Slipper's archbishop, I applaud his decision to stand aside as Speaker, and am seeking a similar decision in relation to his public functions in the church."

Slipper's stepping down from the Speakership has already cost Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her Labor Party their one-vote majority in the House of Representatives. Opposition leader (and enemy of LGBT rights) Tony Abbot is surely thrilled, but is affecting outrage, as he must.

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Comments

  1. I feel sorry for his wife and kids but James is a hottie: http://www.news.com.au/national/peter-slipper-accuser-james-ashby-convicted-over-offensive-phone-calls-to-dj/story-e6frfkvr-1226335352067

    Posted by: RONTEX | Apr 22, 2012 3:35:46 PM


  2. Is Peter Slipper a peter sipper?

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Apr 22, 2012 3:42:48 PM


  3. @RONTEX: You are either the kindest person to ever post here, or you are clinically blind, because, I hate to say, this is truly a case of two extremely creepy looking people behaving in an extremely creepy manner. I wonder if those two characters are friends with some of the middle-aged, closet-bound trolls who often post in these parts? Out of politeness Tank is not going to name names.

    Posted by: TANK | Apr 22, 2012 4:33:26 PM


  4. I came here only to be the first to use the bad joke, "So Peter Slipper wanted to slip James the Peter".
    Tank has a bad monitor if he thinks James does not look hot, and makes a childish speculation.

    Posted by: Bob | Apr 22, 2012 5:01:31 PM


  5. I haven't been following this too much but James doesn't look creepy to me, at least not in that photo. Isn't he the alleged victim here? I'm trying to figure out why they were staying in the same house because one of the allegations is that Mr. Slipper asked him to shower with the door open. He refused but Mr. Slipper allegedly always left his open.

    Another newspaper has it that there are court records showing that in 2003 there was another young male staffer who accused Peter Slipper of sexual harassment so his predilection was well known. I can't see feeling sorry for the wife here--she had to have known what was going on.

    Posted by: sara | Apr 22, 2012 6:17:25 PM


  6. There's possibly more to this than meets the eye.

    Slipper was, until Nov 2011, an MP for the Opposition. His local Branch were planning to dump him at the next election, so he resigned from the Coalition to sit as an Independent and, most importantly, to take up the position of Speaker. This move significantly improved the Government's tenuous position in Parliament (the Speaker has a casting vote), and gave him a bit of a boost in pay and prestige.

    His former leader, Abbott was blindsided by this move and was absolutely furious. No doubt Slipper's party have known of his 'tastes' for a while, and that's why they've been after his blood for so long.

    This legal action is a god send to a Catholic homophobe like Abbott. But I wouldn't be surprised if the miracle didn't have a bit of help from the troops on the ground.

    Posted by: Paul | Apr 22, 2012 10:42:25 PM


  7. Is that what passes for hot these days....

    Posted by: Marlee | Apr 23, 2012 11:07:40 AM


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