Former speaker cleared

CANBERRA (Reuter) - A parliamentary inquiry cleared a former speaker of the Australian House of Representatives yesterday of charges that he used his position to gain 65,000 Australian dollars ( pounds 30,000) for injuries suffered in a bicycle accident.

The inquiry, headed by a former judge, Sir Laurence Street, found no evidence that the former speaker, Leo McLeay, had received favoured treatment when he sued his own parliamentary department after falling off a bicycle belonging to the parliamentary gymnasium in 1990. Media reports in January of the payment embarrassed the Labor government on the eve of an election campaign and Mr McLeay resigned in early February. Staff at the gymnasium had warned Mr McLeay that he was too heavy for the collapsible bicycle.

'I can find nothing . . . which would support the inference that Mr McLeay received favoured treatment in relation to his claim,' Sir Laurence said.