For Labor, Peter Slipper’s speakership falls into the category of ‘‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’’.
Now, eleven months later, the tricky deal to gain some voting leeway in the hung parliament has caused the Gillard Government almost nothing but enormous pain.
Mr Slipper will now sit as (yet another) crossbencher, who may or may not vote vote with Labor. He obviously harbours no love for his former Liberal colleagues, but in his resignation speech he referred to the opposition leader as a ‘‘person of fine character’’ and the support of the idiosyncratic MP can probably not be guaranteed.
It was clear during the debate on the Coalition motion to remove him that his position was untenable.
Yes, the vote was defeated 70 to 69, but that still meant 69 of the members over whom he was supposed to preside thought he should not be in the chair.
It would be difficult to command the respect the highest parliamentary office is supposed to hold after the private text messages that have been revealed.
And his survival was also relying on the sexual harassment charges he faced being dismissed and the allegations of taxi voucher fraud being found groundless.
His tenure will be another sorry chapter in the history of a parliament which has descended into vitriolic debates about who is more responsible for vitriolic debates.
The danger for Labor is that this minority government will also be filed under ‘‘seemed like a good idea at the time’’ by the voters.