Canberra: Australia`s parliamentary speaker has temporarily stepped down amid allegations of sexual harassment and fraud. The move touches off a political crisis that threatens Prime Minister Julia Gillard`s tenuous grip on power.
House of Representatives Speaker Peter Slipper announced on Sunday he will be temporarily replaced by his deputy Anna Burke, a Labor Party government lawmaker, while police investigate allegations he misused taxi payment vouchers.
A male staff member who made the fraud allegations is also suing Slipper claiming sexual harassment. Slipper denies all the allegations.
It is not immediately clear whether the move will cost Gillard her razor-thin majority vote. That would leave her minority government vulnerable to a vote of no confidence.