Shaw leaves election pledge in tatters
Controversial Frankston MP Geoff Shaw's voting has forced the government to abandon an election pledge to set up a parliamentary budget office.PT1M41S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-325bm 620 349 February 7, 2014
In the language of political spin doctors, Napthine and his operatives are desperate to ''push the media cycle forward''.
The latest attempt involved a two-pronged attack. First, the government announced it will be forcing construction companies to conduct random drug and alcohol tests and install biometric scanners and CCTV on government building sites.
All part of a crackdown on thieving, drunk, stoned, militant union thugs.
Second, with much fanfare it launched a series of online ads attacking Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews over his factional links to the CFMEU.
Under normal circumstances, you'd expect this sort of pincer movement to at least generate a day or so of positive news for the government.
Trouble is, we are talking about the Victorian Parliament, which is now so dysfunctional it has become a national laughing stock.
Just a few hours after being unveiled by Planning Minister Matthew Guy, the attack ads were pulled because of a copyright breach. Then came the shattering news that Ford will be sacking 300 workers, ahead of its decision to close completely in 2016.
Not to be outdone, Geoff Shaw added to the sense of chaos and dysfunction.
After much thundering from various parties over who is really calling the shots in Victoria, Shaw sided with Labor in Parliament to force the government to abandon an election pledge to set up a parliamentary budget office because the Coalition was unwilling to countenance some (not unreasonable) amendments.
Just when it seemed things couldn't possibly get any worse for the Napthine government, Shaw lobbed another grenade, telling the The Age he won't necessarily support the May budget.
The situation has become so toxic that government MPs are now being openly hostile to Shaw, with calls of ''shame'' after Shaw voted with Labor.
His refusal to guarantee supply triggered furious speculation about whether Victoria might be heading for an early election. After all, a government cannot function if it cannot guarantee financial bills.
Trouble is, blocking financial supply is no trigger for an early election under a constitutional overhaul introduced by the former (minority) Bracks government in 2003 designed to enshrine fixed four-year terms.
As reported previously in The Age, under section 8A of the state constitution, an early election would require a successful ''no-confidence'' motion in the Premier and other ministers. A likely outcome would be deadlocked numbers at 44-all, meaning the vote would fail. Even if such a vote were to pass, there is no clear mechanism to allow the Governor to intervene by dissolving the Parliament.
Nor is it likely that Labor or Shaw want to go to the polls early.
If anything, it would benefit Denis Napthine the most. At least the misery would end.