EMBATTLED Sunshine Coast MP Peter Slipper has stood aside as Speaker as explosive allegations that he sexually harassed a male staffer are investigated.
Mr Slipper flew back into a political storm which now threatens the Gillard Government given the fragile balance of power in Parliament.
Former aid James Ashby, 33, has claimed Mr Slipper, 62, hired him to pursue him sexually - a claim Mr Slipper has emphatically denied.
But this afternoon, he announced he would stand aside while the criminal allegation against him is resolved.
The Daily understands that allegation relates to alleged misuse of Cabcharges.
"The allegations include both a claim of criminal behaviour and claim under civil law,'' Mr Slipper said.
"Any allegation of criminal behaviour was grave and should be dealt with in a manner that showed appropriate regard to the integrity of Australia's democratic institutions and to precedent," he said.
"As such, I believe it is appropriate for me to stand aside as Speaker while this criminal allegation is resolved.''
The allegation by former aide James Ashby was incorrect, Mr Slipper said.
"Once it is clear they are untrue I shall return to the Speakership,'' he said.
"In relation to the civil matter there will be an appropriate process that will resolve the matter in due course.''
Labor MP and Deputy Speaker, Anna Burke, will act as Speaker.
Mr Slipper, who was under mounting pressure over his travel expenses following ongoing investigations by the Sunshine Coast Daily, left the Liberals last year and struck a deal with the Gillard Government to become Speaker.
The deal allowed the government to abandon its pledge to bring about poker machine reform as pushed by independent Andrew Wilkie.
Yesterday, Mr Wilkie joined Opposition leader Tony Abbott in calling for Mr Slipper to stand aside as Speaker.
This afternoon, media crews were camped outside his Gleneagle Court home in Buderim awaiting his arrival back from the Brisbane airport after an overnight flight from Los Angeles.
In Los Angeles, a very weary looking Mr Slipper repeatedly denied the allegations which were plastered across the front page of most News Ltd papers in the country yesterday.
The Coalition turned up the pressure, saying it would push for a vote to remove Mr Slipper.
But Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan told the ABC's Insiders this morning it was up to Mr Slipper to decide whether to stand aside.
"I've been in Parliament a long time. I've seen allegations come and go. These are now allegations that are in legal proceedings," he said.
Independent MP Tony Windsor said Mr Slipper was entitled to the presumption of innocence.
"We do have a judicial system. We don't try people in our Parliament," he said.
"The allegations are serious, there's no doubt about that but they are not proven and everybody has that right of due process."
PETER SLIPPER'S FULL STATEMENT TODAY
Some allegations have been made against me by Mr James Ashby. I emphatically deny these allegations.
The allegations include both a claim of criminal behaviour and a claim under civil law.
Any allegation of criminal behaviour is grave and should be dealt with in a manner that shows appropriate regard to the integrity of our democratic institutions and to precedent.
As such, I believe it is appropriate for me to stand aside as Speaker while this criminal allegation is resolved.
The allegation is incorrect, and once it is clear they are untrue I shall return to the Speakership...
In relation to the civil matter there will be an appropriate process that will resolve the matter in due course.
They say that location is the prime element in real estate decisions, and that is true. This property should appeal to investors and owner occupiers for that very...
Low maintenance three bedrooms house steps from the beach. You can indulge in the ultimate seaside lifestyle every day with this house built one year ago. Open...
Land offerings of this size and position are rare. The time is perfect to secure this unique property and invest in the future! If you have been looking for more...
Motivated Seller Says Sell Sell Sell ! Drastically Reduced From $899,000 to Now $799,000 ! Rent two dwellings out and live in the other. This is an exceptional...
Spacious 3 bedroom townhouse in the heart of Maroochy Waters. - Very private and pet friendly in small well designed complex of 6 - Three generous living areas...
One of the most recognised apartment buildings on Kawana Island is St Kitts, located in the heart of the essence of Lifestyle and living. Stroll to the...
Located in a prime waterfront street with many premium homes, is this lowset brick and tile home with fully self-contained granny flat/studio; currently used as an...
Huge open plan family home in a handy location between Woombye and Palmwoods, within walking distance of schools. Lots of space for the kids to play and 2 big...
Located in a quiet cul-de-sac in an elevated position in the highly sought after quality Old Orchard Estate in beautiful Palmwoods is this custom-designed family...
This centrally located ground floor unit in a small complex is the perfect starter for first home buyers or investors. In addition to its low maintenance open plan...
Join the Community.
Get your local news, your way.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.