Lewis was first elected at the 1979 election
as a Liberal candidate. He quickly gained a reputation as a maverick, defying the party authorities on many an occasion. In July 2000, the Liberals finally lost patience with Lewis and expelled him, even though it cost them their majority.
At the 2002 election
, Lewis contested his seat under the banner of the Community Leadership Independence Coalition (CLIC) and was re-elected. Three other CLIC candidates contested seats in the South Australian House of Assembly
During the campaign, Lewis said he would support any government that would commit to a program of parliamentary reform, including Labor. When pressed by The Advertiser
, Lewis denied his statement meant he may help Labor form government, saying "You can quote me: That is bullshit. Clear, unequivocal, hot, green, sloppy, fresh bullshit. I'm not into forming government with Labor".
Support for Labor
At the 2002 election
, with 24 seats required for a parliamentary majority, Labor won 23 seats, the Liberals won 20 seats, the SA Nationals
won one seat, with three seats won by independents, including that of Lewis. Lewis negotiated with both Liberal leader and incumbent Premier Rob Kerin
and Labor opposition leader Mike Rann
. Eventually, Lewis agreed to support a Labor minority government
on confidence and supply
motions while retaining the right to vote on conscience
. In return, Lewis became Speaker of the South Australian House of Assembly
, Labor agreed to hold a Constitutional Convention
, and Lewis gained concessions for his electorate including the phasing out of commercial fishing
in the River Murray, prioritising the eradication of the branched broomrape
weed, changing water rates
, fast-tracking a feasibility study for a weir
, and improving rural roads.
Lewis' deal allowed Rann to form government by one seat. However, Kerin stated that since the Liberals had won the two-party vote on 50.9 percent, he would stay in office until Labor demonstrated it had support on the floor of the legislature. The House of Assembly reassembled earlier than normal after an election. With Lewis in the speaker's chair, Kerin moved a motion of confidence in his government. He lost, confirming Rann as premier. The Liberals hinted at challenging the result in Lewis' seat, but this did not eventuate.
However, the other two independents, Rory McEwen
and Bob Such
, and the SA Nationals member, Karlene Maywald
, later also agreed to support the Rann government in return for cabinet or speaker positions.
Lewis in 2002 faced media scrutiny over his links to businessman Terry Stephens (not to be confused with Liberal MP Terry Stephens
) after claims were made in parliament, just prior to Lewis becoming speaker, by federal Liberal MP for Barker
, Patrick Secker
Lewis was exonerated of any wrongdoing despite submitting himself to extensive police investigations.
Stephens was later convicted of lying to smear
Standfield, Utting and Ratcliff
In 2004 Lewis and some of his staffers, including two child abuse activists and volunteer staffers named Malcolm Barry Standfield and Wendy Utting, were speaking to 8 informants about alleged pedophiles. One of the most vocal informants was named Craig Ratcliff and whilst he was providing plausible information that he had been a victim himself, he had also been found guilty as a perpetrator and is recorded as a convicted child sex offender.
Ratcliff was one of the informants who accused the MP during a television interview in August 2004. Ratcliff later recanted his claims, saying he realised the politician was not the man known as "Terry" who frequented gay beats in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was subsequently convicted to a suspended prison sentence in 2008.
Another of those informants named Robert Woodland was found bashed to death on 8 December 2004 in the South Parklands.
Then on 25 February 2005 another of the informants named Shaine Moore was found dead in suspicious circumstances.
In early March 2005 the media and the Labor Government narrowed down the allegations of a pedophile politician to a male Labor Politician.
On 1 April 2005 Standfield and Utting faxed a press release, giving names of the alleged sitting MP and 2 policemen.
A police investigation of Standfield, Utting and Ratcliff started and all 3 were charged with criminal defamation.
In 2008 the two volunteer staffers working in Lewis' Office, Standfield and Utting, were found not guilty of defamation over the claims.
In December 2008 Ratcliff was sentenced for criminal defamation for the allegations.
2009 mining interests
Lewis owned eight mining leases, as well as interests in Goldus Operations and Mintech Resources. It was reported that Lewis had sold his iron ore project at Razorback Ridge, 80 km east of Yunta
, to Western Australia's Royal Resources for $30 million.
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- ^ Dowdell, Andrew (19 December 2008). "Sex accuser 'enjoyed the attention'". The Advertiser. Ratcliff, 47, claimed the politician had sex with underage boys at Veale Gardens in the Adelaide parklands but later recanted his story as a case of mistaken identity.
- ^ "Robert Woodland – REWARD $200,000". SA CrimeStoppers. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
- ^ "Dead men had outed homosexual politician". The Age. 2 March 2005.
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- ^ Nyland, Justice. "R v RATCLIFF, STANFIELD & UTTING". Supreme Court of SA. Retrieved 10 August 2007.
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- ^ Dowdell, Andrew (1 December 2008). "Premier 'told of child sex claims'". Adelaide Now. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
- ^ Dowdell, Andrew (12 December 2008). "Child abuse activists Malcolm Standfield and Wendy Utting acquitted". The Advertiser.
- ^ "Law still unclear after child abuse activists acquitted of defamation". The Australian. 15 December 2008. Archived from the original on 15 December 2012.
- ^ Nance Haxton (11 April 2005). "Informant retracts paedophilia allegations against SA Labor MP". The World Today. ABC Radio.
- ^ Vanstone, Justice. "R v Craig Ratcliff – Sentencing Remarks, Criminal Defamation". Supreme Court. Retrieved 18 December 2008.
- ^ Dowdell, Andrew (18 December 2008). "Craig Ratcliff gets suspended sentence for calling MP a pedophile". The Advertiser.
- ^ Peter Lewis (4 April 2005). "Speaker's Remarks". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). South Australia: House of Assembly. pp. 2090–2092.
- ^ "PM – SA Speaker resigns over sex row". ABC Radio. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 4 April 2005. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
- ^ "SA legislation could put an end to parliamentary privilege". 7.30 Report. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 5 April 2005. Retrieved 28 June 2009.
- ^ "Results For Legislative Council". State Election Office, South Australia. Archived from the original on 21 August 2006. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
- ^ "South Australian Election 2006". ABC News. 2006. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
- ^ "Peter Lewis sells SA iron ore project to Royal Resources". Perth Now. 5 October 2009.
- ^ "World Peace Prize Recipients Announced". Reuters. 3 February 2011. Archived from the original on 6 February 2011.
- ^ Former Speaker Peter Lewis sued in iron deal: The Advertiser 26 April 2010
Last edited on 12 May 2021, at 07:04
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