Peter Slipper has released a number of Cabcharge slips, proof, so he says, that no fraud has taken place, as the hand writing is clearly his, ergo, he did not hand out unsigned blank Cabcharge slips to taxi drivers.
This, apparently, casts a doubt over all claims made by his accuser, although I'm beat as to how Slipper's handwriting has any bearing - or offers proof of innocence - on the sexual harassment complaint, which appears to be remarkably well documented, if not in handwriting, certainly in crude text messages.
However, back to the Cabcharge problem. I'm flummoxed to think of any reason why someone in Slipper's position would risk criminal charges for actions that, as far as I can tell, garner no personal benefit. Over-paying for taxi trips? Paying for taxi trips not taken, or at least not plausibly taken? Unless he has a bunch of cousins each driving taxis in different companies, why do it? Does it result in a safer trip, a better ride, a more reliable pick up? Again, got me beat. There's nothing in it for Slipper. The "why" question, in these circumstances, might never get a halfway plausible response.
The handwriting is a side issue, when lined up with the rest of the exhibits - not yet rolled out for handwriting examination - a whole pile of trips, examined by the Financial Review (article here, behind a paywall) found an astonishing level of overpayment, that is, Slipper has had the misfortune to have drivers who take the long scenic route, no matter where he is going, and an astonishing number of identical fare charges - down to the last cent, even when travelling in different cities. Yes, life is full of coincidences, but some coinky-dinks are more improbable than others, like these:
- Jan to March 2011 - 16 trips @ $75.68
- Jan 2010 to March 2011 - 22 trips @ $95.86
- Jan to June 2010 - 7 trips @ $126.14
- Feb to July 2010 - 24 trips @ $327.95 (all 24 trips were between Brisbane and Buderim, Slippers home)
- Aug 2010 to June 2011 - 62 trips @ either $236.35 or $268.18 (also between Brisbane and Buderim, and all paid by invoice or by reimbursement claims, not with Cabcharge)
The charges do not seem to be probable, plausible or possible. It does seem that Slipper has a case to answer, which has nothing to do with handwriting tests. (On one day, among other anomalies, he twice took multi-hundred-dollar drives from Brisbane to his home, with no record of a trip in the middle taking him back to Brisbane. Or another that had him in a taxi at the exact time he booked out a hire car at an airport. Yes, there are questions to be answered.)
I'd really like to know why he threw tax funds around, like confetti, at taxi drivers? The reimbursement claims would have gone straight into his wallet, but not a dollar would have benefited Slipper from the surprising amount of dollars given away via Cabcharges.
The Slipper Cabcharges - Look, it's his own handwriting!