THE LAST 24 HOURS IN VICTORIAN POLITICS

June 4, 2014

Rachael Ward

denis-napthine-and-geoff-shaw-dataIt all started with a question.

In interview with ABC’s 774 host Rafael Epstein yesterday afternoon, Independent MP Geoff Shaw declared he would support a vote of no confidence in Premier Napthine’s Victorian Government. Cue sh*tstorm.

“…It’s become abundantly clear to me, any move that can be made to expel me from parliament [will be]. I don’t trust them anymore. I will support a no confidence motion in the Premier and the Government”.

The revelation that the Frankston MP would support a move to bring down the Coalition Government and trigger an early election quickly got journalists and political enthusiast alike in a spin. As the balance of power MP in the Legislative Assembly, Geoff Shaw’s vote is important to the Coalition Government as without it the Government does not hold a majority in the Lower House.

So you’d think the Opposition Labor Party would take Shaw’s vote and form government, but this is a much more complicated than your typical political crisis due to Geoff Shaw’s ‘interesting’ history.

Early last year Shaw resigned from the Parliamentary Liberal Party in the wake of allegations he misused Parliamentary privileges.

In September, the Victorian Police charged Shaw with criminal offences relating to the alleged misuse of his Parliamentary car and fuel cards, which were used for errands related to the operation of Shaw’s Hardware business in Carrum Downs. They were subsequently dropped, and a Privileges Committee cleared Shaw of contempt of Parliament (including a $6000 fine) last Thursday.

Because of all this and more, Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews has previously indicated he will not take Shaw’s tainted vote at any time, so accepting his vote in a no confidence motion could appear hypocritical.

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True to form, this morning Andrews declared “Geoff Shaw is a rorter. Geoff Shaw has no place in Parliament”. He challenged the Government to expel Shaw from Parliament despite the Committee’s findings – or else Labor would put forward the motion which could trigger a by-election in Frankston.

Which brings us to Premier Napthine (not to be confused with nap time), who is seeking legal council on the issue and yet to make another move. Whatever the next couple of days brings, you have to hand it to Shaw. He’s managed to singlehandedly incur the wrath of both sides of politics, bring down at least one Liberal leader this term and have the Speaker call him a “nuff-nuff”.

-Rachael Ward

 

 

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