She may be known in Canberra circles as the 'Queen of No', but Peta Credlin could also soon be persona non grata in parliament after Tony Abbott's chief of staff was accused of piping up yesterday from the advisers box.
While they command significant influence behind the scenes, political advisers are expected to remain silent while sitting in the chamber. Speaker Peter Slipper said any advisers heard interjecting will be banned from the parliament floor.
Credlin, who will be profiled next week for our Spinners and Advisers power list, was accused by Labor frontbenchers of joining the opposition in jeering Prime Minister Julia Gillard as she answered a question.
Well regarded in party circles as an effective manager, Credlin is said to wield considerable clout in Tony Abbott's office. She's been chief of staff to the past three Liberal leaders.
Leader of the House Anthony Albanese told the Speaker Peter Slipper:
"Mr Speaker, on a point of order, is it in order for advisers in the advisers box to interject against the Prime Minister while she is giving an answer to a question?"
Credlin was then alleged by Defence Minister Stephen Smith of continuing to interrupt Albanese during his point of order.
"In addition to the point which the Leader of the House made, in the course of the Leader of the House's contribution the person from the advisers box was continuing to interject on him," Smith said.
While he did not hear the remark, Slipper said that it was "grossly disorderly for anyone from the advisers box to interject".
He warned that if he heard any future heckling it would result in the offending individual being banned from the advisers box for the duration of his speakership.
A spokesman for Credlin's boss Tony Abbott told The Age last night:
''Opposition staff are aware of the need for decorum in the chamber at all times and will heed the Speaker's warning."