Shaw may be expelled for contempt of parliament

The Victorian Parliament’s Privileges Committee, which is responsible for investigating wrongdoing by MPs, has split along party lines in its report on the Member for Frankston, Geoff Shaw. The inquiry began when Shaw’s misuse of a government vehicle for his private business was found by the Ombudsman to be in breach of guidelines. The Liberal and National majority report found that Shaw’s contraventions were not “wilful”, but he should be required to repay the money. The Labor minority said he was “completely reckless, careless and indifferent to obligations”, and warned: “All options are on the table, including the expulsion of Geoff Shaw from parliament, the suspension of Geoff Shaw or a heavy fine.” For his part, Shaw says the committee were “nuff-nuffs”. The issue is sensitive, as Shaw holds the balance of power in the Legislative Assembly, and the Government relies on his support to pass its bills. The former Speaker, Ken Smith—who was forced to resign under pressure from Shaw—has announced his intention to cross the floor and vote to adopt the minority report, possibly suspending Shaw and creating a 43-43 vote deadlock in the Assembly. Shaw says he will run for parliament again as an independent, so the people of Frankston will have the final say.