Geoff Shaw: plans to recontest his seat at the November election, even if he is expelled from Parliament. Photo: Pat Scala
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He's the rogue, the maverick, the loose cannon or, depending on your view, just another self-serving "dickhead" but that hasn't stopped retired footballer Jason Akermanis from scoring possibly the media coup of the year — an exclusive interview with state parliamentary grenade tosser Geoff Shaw.
Practically in hiding since he ignited a constitutional crisis last week, and as Parliament braces for a chaotic day, the balance-of-power Frankston MP has emerged in a head-to-head chat with Akermanis for online publication The New Daily. And he's not happy. With anyone.
Jason Akermanis: former footballer, now apparently a political interviewer. Photo: Gary Schafer
Better known for a Brownlow Medal-winning lairy flair on the footy field and a kamikaze approach to media, Akermanis scored the exclusive with his "good friend" because they "both ... know what it’s like to find yourself in the margins of a team environment".
That parliamentary environment, Mr Shaw tells "Aker", consists of "moral cowards" (the Liberals) and "the morally corrupt" (Labor). He says his fury stems from Premier Denis Napthine "unreasonably" refusing his demands for abortion law-reform but says he did not demand a say in judicial appointments.
Instead he "had general conversations regarding what I wanted for Frankston" with the Premier as well as "the abortion laws I wanted changed. There is no secret here. I have always been a passionate advocate for Frankston and pro life".
State Parliament crisis
Premier Denis Napthine at question time. Photo: Justin McManus
Mr Shaw also told Akermanis he intends to recontest the seat of Frankston if he fails to survive an expected motion from Labor to expel him for contempt of parliament for misusing a car and fuel card.
Mr Shaw, who holds the balance of power in State Parliament, has said he has lost confidence in the Coalition government but still preferred it to Labor.
"Just because you lose confidence in your team doesn't mean you want them to be defeated," Mr Shaw says.
Mr Shaw describes former speaker and nemesis Ken Smith as the most ejected politician in the history of parliament. He criticised Dr Napthine for failing to reel in Mr Smith after he threatened to side with Labor on Mr Shaw's future.
"It is because they are good friends, yet it is Ken's comments and actions that could bring down the government. Did you know Ken is believed to be the most kicked out politician in the history of parliament – yet he wants to [be] rid [of] me for some personal vendetta," Mr Shaw said.
"I believe in doing what is right over what is necessarily popularly thought by other members of parliament," he said.
"We are to have a voice and I've used mine for the good of Frankston and unborn children."
He criticised the media and talkback radio coverage of the issue.
"You have been there, Jason. Sideline commentators behind their computers printing out their bile to beat something up as a controversy," Mr Shaw said.
"Every speech that I make has to be backed by some type of fact. The media back theirs with gossip and slander and the ever-present comments from Mr and Mrs Anonymous."