Geoff Shaw suspended from Vic parliament

The Legislative Assembly has voted to “name” the Member for Frankston, Geoff Shaw, suspending him without pay for 11 sitting days. In addition, he will be required to repay $5220.75 for the misuse of his office car, pay an additional fine of $1617.69, refrain from interstate or overseas travel, and apologise to the Legislative Assembly. If he fails to comply by 2 September, he will be expelled. Former Speaker Ken Smith, despite hinting he might cross the floor, voted with the government. This meant Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews was unable to amend the motion to expel Shaw from parliament immediately. The Opposition received legal advice that expulsion was an available penalty, and other constitutional experts agree. Monash University’s Greg Taylor said, “They can expel you for wearing the wrong coloured jacket or not polishing your shoes.” However, he added: “This is a nuclear bomb option.” ACU’s Greg Craven argues that “expelling an elected member is contempt of democracy ­itself.” No MP has been expelled from the Victorian parliament since 1901. The Commonwealth parliament legislated to remove its own power to expel MPs in 1987. During Shaw’s suspension, votes on the floor of the Legislative Assembly will be tied 43-43, with the Speaker casting a deciding vote.