News State Victoria News Latest: Shaw facing suspension

Latest: Shaw facing suspension

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The Victorian Government will seek to have balance-of-power MP Geoff Shaw suspended from Parliament for 11 sitting days without pay.

Earlier today Mr Shaw faced a push by Labor to have him expelled from Parliament for misusing his taxpayer-funded car and fuel card.

The Government refused to allow Labor’s motion to debate the issue because it wanted the budget to be passed before dealing with the matter.

The budget has now been passed by Parliament, paving the way for a possible sanction against Mr Shaw to be addressed tonight.

After the budget was passed the Government released documents detailing the punishments it plans to seek against Mr Shaw. 

It said it wanted the Frankston MP to repay the cost of the misuse of his parliamentary car and apologise to the House of Representatives and the people of Victoria.

It also said the Government would move to expel Mr Shaw if he did not comply with the motion by September 2.

Premier Denis Napthine said Mr Shaw had shown disrespect for the privileges committee, the Parliament and Victorians.

“We have now given notice of a motion which we believe deals appropriately and effectively with the wrongdoings of the Member for Frankston,” Dr Napthine said.

He said he also believed Mr Shaw showed “no remorse and no understanding” in regards to his misuse of taxpayers’ money.

Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews labelled the Government’s proposal a slap on the wrist, and said Labor would continue with its push to have Mr Shaw expelled.

“What this amounts to is a gardening leave arrangement,” he said.

“There’s some curbing of Mr Shaw’s ability to travel overseas or interstate, but [he gets] full pay except for 11 sitting days.”

Speaking to the media, Dr Napthine denied Mr Shaw was getting a second chance.

“We know that expulsion… is a serious issue. Around the world expulsion is only reserved for the most serious of offences.

“But if he thumbs his nose at (the) requirements that the House places upon him, if this motion is passed… then he will have crossed the line to be in contempt of the House and expulsion will be an option.”

Earlier when Mr Andrews made the request to suspend standing orders to debate the future of the rogue MP at the start of Question Time, it was refused almost immediately by Speaker Christine Fyffe.

Mr Andrews called the Premier’s decision “an act of weakness”, and said Labor would move to find Mr Shaw in contempt when it sits on Wednesday.

Dr Napthine said the Government had received legal advice about a potential punishment for Mr Shaw, but it would not be released or addressed in the Parliament until the budget was passed.

“We’ve received the advice we need but what we’re going to do first is pass the budget,” Dr Napthine said earlier.

“That’s what Victorians want. So we’ll be looking to pass the budget and when we’ve dealt with the budget – all three bills of the budget – then the Parliament will be ready to deal with Mr Shaw.”

The Opposition continually questioned the Premier about Mr Shaw’s demand for a judicial appointment.

Dr Napthine said last week that Mr Shaw had asked for a “particular” judicial appointment, and when the Premier refused, the Frankston MP withdrew his support for the Government.

When asked by Mr Andrews when Mr Shaw made his “outrageous” demand, Dr Napthine answered “earlier this year”, but gave not specific date.

“When it was raised, I made it very clear to the Member for Frankston it was unacceptable and unreasonable,” Dr Napthine told Parliament.

When questioned further, the Premier said “in those discussions, this matter was raised and it was ruled out immediately. He was told that this is not the way this Government makes judicial appointments.”

“It is totally unacceptable, it is totally over the top. It was ruled out immediately.

“So it was made very clear that this Government makes judicial appointments in the appropriate way, using the appropriate mechanisms.”

Dr Napthine also dismissed suggestions he has been running a protection racket for Mr Shaw for the past three-and-a-half years, and was being held to ransom.

“I don’t accept the premise of that very long-winded, rambling and blundering question,” he said.