Many hold the belief that the sexual harassment allegations against former Speaker of the House of Representatives Peter Slipper could spell the end of his parliamentary career and bring down the Gillard government. What they forget is that section 44(ii) of the Constitution provides that a person can be disqualified from parliament they are “attainted of treason, or has been convicted and is under sentence, or subject to be sentenced, for any offence punishable under the law of the Commonwealth or of a State by imprisonment for one year or longer.”
Unfortunately for those who hold some hope that Slipper can be pushed out due to the sexual harassment allegations – it won’t happen. Sexual harassment is a civil matter, not criminal.
The allegations which may push Slipper out of parliament (if he was convicted) are those about him misusing a CabCharge card. These allegations are presently being investigated by the Australian Federal Police and may lead to criminal charges. If convicted, Slipper would be disqualified from parliament. In terms of the risk for the government, this is the more significant allegation.