Peter Slipper stepping down as speaker of the house has hurt Labor federally.

Peter Slipper stepping down as Speaker of the House has hurt Labor federally. Photo: Gary Ramage

The Hon. Mr Speaker is, as they say, cactus. No more presumptions of innocence or letting due process run its course for Slippery Pete. We've now moved on to the rats and sinking ship phase of proceedings.

It won't matter if the Australian Federal Police blow off the allegations that he rorted his cab charges, or if some hairy legged tribunal sifts through his text messages and brings in a verdict of ‘move along now, nothing to see here’.

The race is on to see which of the major parties can quickly put the greatest distance between themselves and the Speaker, both having been badly sprung snuggling up to Slippery Pete even though, you know... eeew!

The visual metaphor I'm searching for is Anthony Albanese, pants off and tackle out, one leg slung over a windowsill, closing his eyes and leaping with all his might, hoping to land square on top of the Opposition Leader, who is in full flight half way down the garden path without even the restraining influence of a brief pair of budgie smugglers.

It makes an interesting contrast, don't you think, with the government's last-ditch defence of Craig Thomson.

Unfortunately for the PM, Mr Rabbit can lay claim to starting his nudie run from Slipper long before she and her colleagues suddenly decided to exit his presence so quickly their strides were left standing in midair, in a feat of cartoon physics worthy of Wile E Coyote.

It's a dashed bit of bad luck for them, having previously spurned Andrew Wilkie, who now finds himself in the role of the once rejected, but now suddenly attractive former suitor.

One can but wonder who, if anyone, he will get into bed with after this jolly romp. Nobody, if he's smart.

On the other hand, when looking for love, the government seems to have even more limited options than Cardinal Pell at a Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence key party. Perhaps it's time to… actually, perhaps it's time to just give up on this metaphor completely.

Allow me to exaggerate. The Gillard government is doing itself more damage than Abbott could ever hope to hand them. I'm not talking specifically about the Peter Slipper fiasco here. I'm talking about everything. Pretty much every decision they have made, every action they have taken since they scraped back into power last time, or arguably since they cut down Kevin Rudd, has been calculated to lower not just the standing of the government of the day, but the standing of the party for a generation. Hmm, I know that was exaggeration, and yet it didn't feel like it.

It's getting to a point where the best thing Julia Gillard could do for the Labor movement is pull the trigger on an election, lead the party to an epic defeat, and stand aside to let the rebuilding era begin. Assuming she hasn't been plowed under herself in the massacre that's coming.