Former Australian Parliament Speaker Peter Slipper is again in the limelight after an Australian Capital Territory court declared him on Monday guilty of dishonesty for charging to Aussie taxpayers his cab fare while touring a wine district in Canberra.
He will be sentenced on Sept 22 when he faces the prospect of 12 months prison term or $10,000 fine. Slipper, who previously slipped from sexual harassment charges filed by a staff but which case has been appealed before the Federal Court, had admitted using taxpayer money to tour the vineyards thrice in 2010, but insisted he wasn't acting dishonestly.
In disagreeing with Slipper's argument, ACT Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker pointed out that the former Speaker didn't fill up his real destination on the travel vouchers worth $900 because he wanted to misrepresent his deeds. He manually filled up multiple vouchers for single journeys rather than file them electronically to mask the fact that his trips were not related to his work in parliament.
The entry in the voucher read "parliament to suburbs" and "suburbs to suburbs" even if he was actually visiting the vineyards.
The cab driver who transported Slipper in January 2010 testified that the then speaker went to six different wineries, including Poachers Pantry and Clonakilla wineries, and requested him to issue four separate receipts to facilitate processing of the voucher.
Because of the previous case against Slipper that embarrassed immensely the former top official, who used to represent Queensland, had twice attempted to take his own life in 2013. He claimed mental illness in having the dishonesty charges filed against him.