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.
“He can’t fly the LNP flag after doing that,” Mr Somlyay said.
“He’s out-slippered Slipper.”
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.
“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.
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.
“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.
“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.”
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.