The time for “clown-like behaviour” is over, a Victorian government minister says, after suspended MP Geoff Shaw made an apology during a comedy event.
Mr Shaw’s first public appearance since his suspension from parliament, over the misuse of his parliamentary car and fuel card, was on a Melbourne stage opposite comedian Sammy J on Friday night.
In a wide-ranging Q&A session at the Wheeler Centre, Mr Shaw told the audience he was “exceptionally sorry” but also that he had been “screwed” by the parliament.
Health Minister David Davis said it was time for Mr Shaw to take his suspension seriously, noting he had until September 2 to formally apologise and repay $6800 or face expulsion from parliament.
“I haven’t heard the detail of what he’s had to say, and I understand that a spokesperson of his has indicated this is not the apology he’ll give to the parliament,” Mr Davis told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday.
“Well, I think this is a serious and sober matter and the time for clown-like behaviour is over, and I think he’ll need to provide that proper statement to the parliament.”
Mr Davis also said Premier Denis Napthine had taken strong and decisive action against the independent MP, and he denied Mr Shaw would continue to be a distraction until the November state election.
“The big story out of this was not Geoff Shaw,” Mr Davis said.
“The key thing here is the parliament will get on with its work, the budget is through … and the leadership of Denis Napthine to put in place the initiatives the state needs, I think those will shine through.”
Mr Shaw’s suspension has left the Victorian government and opposition deadlocked on 43 votes apiece in the lower house, with the government requiring the Speaker’s backing to pass legislation.