Rebel independent Geoff Shaw appears set to survive a bid to have him booted permanently from the Victorian parliament when it resumes on Thursday.
Premier Denis Napthine’s motion to expel the balance-of-power MP is expected to be debated Thursday morning.
But Labor says it will not back the move because it is a stunt, saving Mr Shaw from expulsion just seven sitting days from the November 29 state election.
The government raised the motion on Wednesday following comments Mr Shaw made to the Herald Sun about his apology to the parliament for misusing his entitlements.
Mr Shaw told the parliament on Tuesday he was humbly and sincerely sorry for the breach, but later told the newspaper the process was a political farce.
The premier seized on Mr Shaw’s description of the process, calling it a slap in the face to voters.
Dr Napthine said Mr Shaw’s comments showed he did not genuinely apologise for misusing his parliamentary entitlements.
However, the balance-of-power MP can vote to save himself from being kicked out of the parliament after the Labor opposition came to his rescue.
Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews went back on his original policy to expel Mr Shaw, instead promising to support him in Thursday’s vote.
Labor has earlier failed in a bid to expel Mr Shaw from the parliament after the privileges committee found he breached the MP code of conduct for misusing his taxpayer-funded car and fuel entitlements.
The government also previously argued against expelling Mr Shaw, saying expulsion was a serious matter that should only be done in the most extreme circumstances.
Mr Shaw, a Liberal-turned-independent, who last week spoke out against the government’s East West Link road project, says he is being punished because of a conversation with a journalist.