Government to blame: Wilkie

TASMANIAN independent MP Andrew Wilkie says the government has only itself to blame for the Peter Slipper debacle.

Mr Wilkie said, in a statement, the government had only elevated Mr Slipper to the role so it could walk away from its commitment to implement poker machine reform.

"In any case the whole sorry saga reflects poorly on the Government," said Mr Wilkie, who earlier had voted with the Coalition as it attempted to have Mr Slipper removed as Speaker.

"It only elevated Peter Slipper to the Speaker's chair to sideline me and renege on the promise to implement meaningful poker machine reform," said Mr Wilkie.

"The damage the episode has done to the Government is entirely of its own making."

He said it was clear Mr Slipper's position had become untenable.

"The situation was seriously diminishing the office of Speaker and dragging down the reputation of the Parliament more broadly," he said.

"I was surprised and disappointed that the majority of the House of Representatives voted in support of Peter Slipper this afternoon, and can only assume some members did so on the condition Peter Slipper would resign before too long."

Mr Wilkie said while the Member for Fisher was entitled to the presumption of innocence, he had done the right in resigning.

It was a sentiment echoed by fellow independent Rob Oakeshott, who also issued a statement not long after Mr Slipper addressed the House of Representatives.

"I acknowledge the difficult but sound decision of Mr Peter Slipper to resign as Speaker of the House," Mr Oakeshott said.

"I confirm that I have spoken personally with Mr Slipper, and in my view he has made the correct decision."

Topics:  andrew wilkie peter slipper speaker

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