Jane Cattermole asks: Why a different rule for Peter Slipper?

By Jane Cattermole 15th January 2013 Peter Slipper, for the latter part of his parliamentary career was much maligned and ridiculed by colleagues and members of the media alike. He was called a “turncoat”, a “rat”, ”Slippery” and was portrayed as “King Rat” on the front of a News Ltd tabloid complete with a digitally altered image of him with whiskers and a rat’s tail, and mockingly, dressed in a wig and gown. Despite the relentless gossip about his private life and the constant trashing of his reputation he took to high office impressively and most would agree that he was an exemplary Speaker. He showed fear and favour to […]

The Great Telecard Coverup

By Margo Kingston November 24, 2000 Source: Webdiary SMH It had to be dragged out of them, but officials from the Department of Finance today made some big admissions on the Reith Telecard affair under pressure from the Senate estimates committee. Try as they might to dodge, waffle and prevaricate, the masters of cross-examination, Labor Senators John Faulkner and Robert Ray, shed a little bit more light on the great coverup. The scandal broke in the Canberra Times on Tuesday October 10, nearly a year after Finance discovered the $50,000 fraud. The very next day, the Prime Minister announced that DPP Damian Bugg had decided to prosecute no-one over the […]

What is the “Minchin Protocol” that was denied to Mr Peter Slipper?

Matty Horan explained on Twitter: @margokingston1 It’s called the Minchin protocol because he came up with it after repaying thousands in wrongly claimed travel exes in 1996. — Matt Horan (@mattyhoran) January 10, 2013 and @margokingston1 p2 Daily Tele 15 March 97. Minchin repaid $3150 for travel allowance wrongly claimed during 96 election. Avail on newstext. — Matt Horan (@mattyhoran) January 11, 2013 Former Senator Nick Minchin was forced to repay $3,150 in travel allowances after admitting he breached a parliamentary convention during the election campaign in 1996. The convention says that ministers and shadow ministers are not allowed to claim travel allowance after their party leader’s policy speech until the […]

A Bugg in the farce of the Reith Telecard affair

By Margo Kingston Source: Webdiary SMH November 22, 2000 Every year Senators get to quiz bureaucrats and statutory officers on their performance and the success or otherwise of government policies. It’s called “Senate Estimates”, is designed to ensure that public money is well spent and is one of many reasons why the Senate is the last hope for Parliament, representing the people, to get answers not spin doctored by the executive (the Prime Minister and his ministers). Freedom FROM information is the executive’s motto but in Senate estimates, evidence is under oath, so those under the gun have to be more careful than politicians are with the truth. Today, the […]

The small matter of prosecution on the Telecard Affair.

By Margo Kingston Source: Webdiary SMH October 16, 2000 To fill you in on DPP Damian Bugg to date. His brief statement of last week made no mention of whether he would charge anyone apart from Reith and son but the Prime Minister’s office advised us today that Mr Bugg had decided not to prosecute anyone, including X and Y. Solicitor-General David Bennett QC, briefed by John Howard to advise on civil liability, has reserved his position on whether Miss X or Mr Y are civilly liable. He says Miss X’s actions ”would, at first sight, give rise to an action against her for unjust enrichment”. She could also be […]

More on the Reith Telecard affair

By Margo Kingston Source: Webdiary SMH Date: October 30, 2000 On Friday, October 20, the pollies perks minister Senator Chris Ellison awoke to the Herald’s publication of an explosive document which raised yet more questions about his administration during the Reith Telecard blowout. We obtained the document on Thursday, and on the same day, I wrote to him as follows: Senator Chris Ellison, Special Minister of State, Canberra Dear Sir, RE: PETER REITH’S TELECARD. I request answers to the following questions by close of business today. (1) When did you first become aware that present or former staff of Mr Reith had been using Mr Reith’s Telecard? (2) What action […]

Tracing the Telecard affair

By Margo Kingston and Mike Seccombe Source: Webdiary SMH Date: October 22nd, 2000 DAY ONE Tuesday, October 10 The Canberra Times reveals a Federal Police investigation into Peter Reith’s $50,000 phone bill after he gave his number and PIN to son Paul for private calls. Howard says Reith revealed the fraud to him in May, nine months after Reith was told, and that he accepted legal advice from Attorney-General Daryl Williams to send the file to police. Howard says he wouldn’t give his Telecard to a family member but “I certainly don’t regard that as a hanging offence”. Howard says he doesn’t know how the fraud went on for five […]