News State Victoria News Geoff Shaw keeps Vic government under pressure

Geoff Shaw keeps Vic government under pressure

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The Victorian Government is under increasing pressure to resolve the row over the Parliamentary Speaker Ken Smith.

The Independent MP Geoff Shaw voted with Labor last week, declaring he had no confidence in the Speaker. That resulted in chaotic scenes in the parliament, which was suspended until November 26.

Mr Smith says he still does not know why Mr Shaw has turned against him.

“Nobody seems to be able to talk to him, I can’t even find out from him what his beef is with me, it’s quite strange,” he said.

“You think that if somebody had a problem with you they’d actually talk to you about it.”

Geoff Shaw will not say exactly why he has lost confidence in Mr Smith.

“There’s a whole lot of things that the Speaker has done which I don’t agree with and the majority of parliamentarians don’t agree with,” he said.

“The majority of parliament are not happy with him at the moment, but they are happy with the government.”

Mr Smith is under pressure to resign, but he says he is not budging.

“I’m remaining as I was, I’m still the Speaker and I intend to remain the Speaker,” he said.

“In the next 10 days or eight days if conditions change in regard to that then we’ll have to look at it then.”

“My party supports me wholly, I’ve got lots of emails, I’ve had lots of phone calls, I’ve had lots of personal call-ins, so my party is still supporting me fully.”

Police and Emergency Services Minister Kim Wells says Ken Smith has his support.

“Ken Smith has done a great job. Yes, he is very firm, and the reality is that regardless of who the Speaker is, Labor, Liberal, National Party or whoever, the parliament should respect the position of the Speaker,” he said.

But the Opposition’s Jill Hennessy says Ken Smith must go.

“The parliament can’t continue to function with a Speaker that doesn’t enjoy a majority and Denis Napthine needs to insist that Ken Smith stands down, his position is simply not tenable,” she said.

“The Liberal Party are deeply divided, there are clearly some that believe he should stay and there are clearly others that understand the time has come for him to move down.”

“The parliament is in gridlock and we have no hope of a resolution unless and until we see some leadership from Denis Napthine, or that Ken Smith accepts the political reality that he no longer enjoys the support of the parliament.”

Ken Smith says he has had to deal with an unprecedented level of poor behaviour from Labor MPs.

“From the day I was elected as Speaker the Labor Party just went feral and the people in the parliamentary gallery will be able to tell you that,” he said.

“Never before has a speaker had to put up with some of the rubbish that the Labor Party threw at me.”