Deputy Speaker Llew O'Brien is seen in the speaker's chair after House of Representatives Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, February 11, 2020. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING
Deputy Speaker Llew O'Brien is seen in the speaker's chair after House of Representatives Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, February 11, 2020. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING

O’Brien fires up over ‘insulting, uninformed’ Slipper slur

AN EXHAUSTED but defiant Llew O’Brien has rejected as uninformed and extremely insulting the claim from a retired Sunshine Coast MP that he had “out-Slippered Peter Slipper”.

Former Fairfax MP Alex Somlyay this week criticised Mr O’Brien for embarrassing the Coalition Government when he accepted his nomination of Labor for the deputy speaker’s job, calling on Mr O’Brien to resign his seat and parliament.

READ MORE: O’Brien finds support at home

“He can’t fly the LNP flag after doing that,” Mr Somlyay said.

Deputy Speaker Llew O'Brien is seen in the speaker's chair after House of Representatives Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, February 11, 2020. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING
Deputy Speaker Llew O'Brien is seen in the speaker's chair after House of Representatives Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, February 11, 2020. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING

“He’s out-slippered Slipper.”

READ MORE: Turncoat politician should resign says former MP

Mr O’Brien said Mr Somlyay did not have a proper understanding of what had been going on, and suggested he stick to the golf course.

“Mr Somlyay has made those comments before knowing why I did what I did,” Mr O’Brien said.

Deputy Speaker Llew O'Brien is seen in the speaker's chair after House of Representatives Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, February 11, 2020. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING
Deputy Speaker Llew O'Brien is seen in the speaker's chair after House of Representatives Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, February 11, 2020. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING

“There have been serious ethical isses which challenged me to the point that I can not sit with the party. I have reached my limit and I am trying to stop them.”

Those issues swirl around a “snouts in the trough” mentality within some ranks of the National Party.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack looks on after Nationals Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien was voted deputy speaker after Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack looks on after Nationals Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien was voted deputy speaker after Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING

They came to a head over the plan for National Party MPs to bill taxpayers for flights and accommodation for a lavish centenary celebration in Melbourne by creating a party room meeting there just days after one takes place in Canberra.

A leaked text this week revealed the meeting had been deliberately scheduled so the MPs did not have to pay their own way.

Mr O’Brien was having none of it.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison congratulates Nationals Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien after being voted deputy speaker after Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING
Prime Minister Scott Morrison congratulates Nationals Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien after being voted deputy speaker after Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING

“I fully support the Prime Minister and I have the full support of the Prime Minister,” he said.

He said Mr Somlyay would have had to betray his side to take up the speaker’s job in 2010.

Mr Somlyay told the Gillard Labor Government that year he would only accept the speaker’s role if he was nominated by the Coalition.

Alex Somlyay
Alex Somlyay

“Labor wanted to make the nomination, I said ‘no’, Slipper said ‘yes’,” he said.

“There’s an absolute rule in politics, disunity is death. What they are doing to Scott Morrisson is political suicide.”

Mr O’Brien said he had not betrayed his side, and was still serving and supporting his side.

“To make a comparison (to Peter Slipper) is highly insulting, completely wrong and shows a complete lack of understanding of what is going on.”

A new portrait of former Speaker Peter Slipper, painted by artist Paul Newton, was unveiled during a ceremony today in Parliament House, Canberra. The portrait of Mr Slipper by artist Paul Newton was commissioned for the Parliament Historic Memorials Collection and is on display in first floor Members Hall, Parliament House. His wife Inge was with him at the event. Picture Gary Ramage
A new portrait of former Speaker Peter Slipper, painted by artist Paul Newton, was unveiled during a ceremony today in Parliament House, Canberra. The portrait of Mr Slipper by artist Paul Newton was commissioned for the Parliament Historic Memorials Collection and is on display in first floor Members Hall, Parliament House. His wife Inge was with him at the event. Picture Gary Ramage

Mr O’Brien has had to step outside the National Party room more than once to achieve the things he has achieved: the Royal Commission into banking, the DFRDB inquiry, the Commonwealth Integrity Commission.

“Anybody who knows me will tell you I am doing what I believe is right,” he said. In addition, taking on deputy speaker means he must quit his chairmanship of two parliamentary committees, losing that income and leading to an overall pay cut, not a pay rise.