Opinion

Admiration for old boss Peter Slipper despite post-mortems

Richard Bruinsma.
Richard Bruinsma.

IN SPITE of public anger and expert political post-mortems in recent days, I can't help but still hold some admiration for my former boss Peter Slipper.

Knowing the genuine love he held for the Parliament and for effective governance, and his determination to be the best Speaker he possibly could, I was captivated by footage showing him struggle with his emotions and fighting to maintain the dignity of the chair, even as he reluctantly let go of the position.

During my seven years as a staffer in his office, I saw someone who was energetic and disciplined. He hated to waste time, could be doggedly

focussed, was guarded in his work relationships and rarely showed deep emotions openly.

He has a great sense of humour, a general knowledge that was at times astounding, and an amazing ability to forgive those who are genuinely sorry.

He could be warm and charming, and is a skilled public speaker.

Despite the revelations of recent days, he rarely swore and virtually never used foul language in my presence.

However, he could be difficult to work with and at times could be

unreasonably demanding.

I said to him once that the media pressure he had endured over recent years probably would have killed a lesser man.

He worried about the effect the pressures of his public life had on his wife Inge.

I had always felt he had the energy, intelligence and analytical mind to be a great minister.

I pondered sometimes if his much-publicised indiscretions were a symptom of his frustration that he wasn't contributing as much as he felt he could to making a better Australia.

The Speaker position gave him that opportunity.

I remember a staff meeting the day after he first took the Speaker's role in December, where he candidly revealed that, for the first time since he was a Parliamentary Secretary under John Howard, he felt he could make a real difference.

The Speakership was something meaty to sink his teeth into. It was as if someone had flicked a switch that gave him renewed enthusiasm for public service.

His resignation, though, not only capped a big day in Australian politics, but also provided a glimpse of who Mr Slipper has

become and the effect of the pressure he has

endured over recent months.

Independent Tony Windsor, who met him early Tuesday, said he was not a well man.

His breaking voice during his resignation speech, the pauses, and his admission he was speaking from the heart, all provided an unspoken admission that despite his impressive resilience and his unfailing determination, he knew his political career was now closer to its end.

Unfortunately, the ongoing controversies have taken their toll.

* Richard Bruinsma worked as a media adviser for Peter Slipper. He now covers courts for the Sunshine Coast Daily.

Topics:  media, peter slipper, resignation




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Welcome to Warwick’s coldest morning of 2016

The icy fingers of approaching winter in Warwick

Stay in bed if you can, it's cold out.

Historic Freestone hall granted $34,000 for facelift

Southern Downs MP Lawrence Springborg and Freestone Hall committee members Kathy Payne, Jenny Ramsey and Bill McVeigh are pleased with the $34,979 grant for refurbishments to the historic hall.

Freestone Hall due for new coat of paint, wheelchair ramp

Latest deals and offers


The best retro movies of the week? May 27 - June 3

Gregory Peck Photo Contributed

This week TV fan get to see Tom Cruise in a 1980s classics

Warwick High student named as hockey nationals umpire

Interview with Warwick High student Isaac Johnson who has been named as an umpire...

Start of Pentath-run wheelchair race in Warwick

Start of Wheelchair race at Pentath-run 1500

Warwick Hospital Get Up Petition

Deuchar resident Trevor Ives is heading up a GetUp petition against Federal Government cuts of as much as $62.8 million to funding at Warwick Hospital. Photo Jayden Brown / Warwick Daily News

Deuchar resident Trevor Ives talks about a GetUp petition calling for no cuts to...

Own Sunshine Coast property? You’re about to make money

UP AND UP: Property owners are likely to win from rent and price increases but tenants and first home buyers might not be so happy. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

Good new for property owners, not so good for buyers and tenants.

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked