House of Representatives Speaker Peter Slipper briefly presided over the chamber at 2pm today.
Slipper read a short statement that asserted his innocence of charges levelled at him, proclaimed his belief in the presumption of innocence, and decried trial by media.
Slipper then handed over to Deputy Speaker Anna Burke and left the House.
It was most likely Slipper’s last appearance as Speaker.
- Listen to Slipper’s statement:
Text of Slipper’s statement to the House.
Honourable members will know that some allegations have been made in relation to me by James Ashby, including a claim under civil law and a claim of criminal behaviour.
This is the first opportunity that I have had to affirm to the House that I deny allegations that have been made. I believe I am entitled, like any other person, to have the presumption of innocence. I am also entitled to have these matters dealt with by proper process.
It is unfortunate that trial by media seems to have become the order of the day in this country.
As Speaker, I have sought to improve the standing of the House by introducing reforms which have been supported by all sides and to ensure the House works in the way intended by the practices and procedures of the House.
My understanding is that there is general appreciation in the broader community of what I am seeking to achieve as Speaker.
As honourable members would understand, I place great importance on the institution of Parliament.
I propose to ask the Deputy Speaker, as Deputy Speaker and members of the Speaker’s panel, to assist in chairing the proceedings of the House.
There is much more to be done and I look forward to completing what I have begun.
I present a copy of my statement and invite the Deputy Speaker to take the chair.