A FORMER SPEAKER of the Australian Parliament has been found guilty of, “dishonestly using parliamentary taxi vouchers to travel to wineries”.
Chief magistrate Lorraine Walker ruled that Peter Slipper, a Liberal National MP, had, “knowingly misused taxpayer-funded vouchers on three days in 2010, ”To the tune of $954 Australian dollars (£527)”.
The court heard that Mr Slipper used taxi vouchers to visit the wineries near Canberra three times in 2010 and used multiple dockets to disguise the fact the trips were nothing to do with parliamentary business.
Chief magistrate Walker said: “I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant was dishonest in completing the cab charge vouchers on each of the three days in question.”
Mr Slipper claimed he had travelled to and from Parliament House to the suburbs, when in fact he had not been to the government building at all.
Magistrate Walker added: “On any interpretation of the multiple vouchers, there is not one day that the vouchers reflect the travel undertaken.”
His lawyer, Kylie Weston-Scheuber, said the case should have been dismissed because there was no definition of “parliamentary business” in legislation or in the Senators and Members’ Entitlements handbook.
Mr Slipper now faces losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in pension rights and benefits.