Peter Slipper
Peter Slipper Warren Lynam

Slipper report release delayed

THERE will be further delays to the release of a Department of Finance investigation into expense claims made by Member for Fisher Peter Slipper for the second half of 2009.

The department has agreed to a Sunshine Coast Daily Freedom of Information request that the report should be released.

However, a third party, which it would not name, has sought an internal review of that decision.

An independent decision maker will be appointed and a decision known within 30 days.

Mr Slipper is currently the subject of an Australian Federal Police investigation into his use of Cabcharge dockets.

He also faces civil proceedings for allegedly sexually harassing James Ashby, who was a member of his staff.

Last month the Department of Finance found that "release of the documents could promote the Australian community oversight of public expenditure information, particularly to scrutinise, discuss, comment on and review the expenditure of public money and entitlements".

Mr Slipper failed to respond when asked if he would object to the report's release.

The Sunshine Coast Daily has long contended that Mr Slipper could resolve questions about his use of public money simply by detailing the parliamentary or electoral business that led to the expenses being incurred.

The stood-down Speaker will only say that all his spending was within the entitlement guidelines.

During the mid-year parliamentary recess of 2009, Mr Slipper spent $6200 on taxis in just 15 days and ultimately $16,038.75 in the six months to December 31 topped by a $3138.43 bill for Commonwealth cars, all while he was a backbencher.

He also handed taxpayers a $32,023.21 bill for domestic airfares.

Despite criticism, 12 months later when parliament again rose for its five-week, mid-year winter recess, Mr Slipper again handed taxpayers a $20,000 bill for airfares, taxis and Comcars.

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