by Alan Thornhill
Party politics are not always pretty.
Mal Brough’s success today, in winning Liberal party endorsement for the Queensland seat of Fisher, shows that, once again.
The seat is presently held by the stood aside Speaker of the House of Representatives, Peter Slipper, who won it for the Liberal party, at the last Federal election.
There is, of course, a back story to Mr Brough’s victory today.
It is not pleasant.
Court documents have shown that a Slipper staffer, James Ashby, consulted Mr Brough, a former Howard government minister, before he accused his boss, Peter Slipper, of making unwelcome homosexual advances, towards him.
Mr Slipper has denied the accusation, but has stood aside from the Speaker’s chair, anyway.
Mr Brough insists that he, too, did nothing wrong, in his contacts with Mr Ashby, before the young staffer made his accusation against his boss public.
That might be so.
But it sits strangely, to say the least, with Mr Brough’s declaration today that he had set out to “win the respect” of local Liberals, before standing – against seven other candidates – in today’s pre-selection ballot in Caloundra.
He clearly succeeded in winning that respect.
But was there a plot to sink Slipper, so unpleasantly?
Mr Slipper, of course, had no chance of retaining Liberal party backing for the seat, after he accepted the Labor party’s offer of the Speaker’s position.
But there are more pleasant ways of responding to such decisions.
Besides, there’s an old saying in politics, which might apply here.
That is: “If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.”
Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.
Thursday December 12
Australia’s unemployment rate rises slightly to 5.8 per cent in November 2013 (seasonally adjusted):ABS
The Dow Jones index fell 129 points to 15,844
The High Court upholds a Commonwealth government challenge to an ACT law permitting same sex marriages. Some 30 couples will now find their marriages void.
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