Geoff Shaw won't be in this seat for the next 11 sitting days. Photo: Justin McManus
Premier Denis Napthine says Geoff Shaw will have to show ‘‘genuine remorse’’ in his apology or he will be expelled.
The independent MP was suspended from parliament for 11 sitting days and ordered to apologise for misusing his taxpayer-funded car.
But Dr Napthine revealed on Thursday that Mr Shaw’s apology will be tested for its sincerity.
‘‘He needs to show genuine remorse, genuine understanding of his wrong doing,’’ Dr Napthine told ABC TV.
‘‘If he isn’t prepared to do that, then he will be in contempt of parliament and expelled.’’
He said Speaker Christine Fyffe would judge Mr Shaw’s sincerity in apologising, which has to occur before September 2. He also has to repay more than $6800.
The rogue MP was suspended on Wednesday night in response to a parliamentary privileges committee report, which found him guilty of misusing his parliamentary car and fuel card.
Former Speaker Ken Smith, a long-time enemy of Mr Shaw, backed down from earlier threats to support Labor’s bid to expel. He sided with Dr Napthine’s suspension plan, saying it would have set a ‘‘dangerous precedent to expel the balance-of-power MP.
Dr Napthine insisted on Thursday that Mr Smith was not pressured into changing his mind.
‘‘Ken Smith made his own decision. He is his own person,’’ he told Sky News.
The suspension leaves state parliament deadlocked, with the coalition likely needing to rely on the Speaker’s casting vote to pass any opposed legislation.
But Dr Napthine said he won’t be held to ransom by the opposition.
‘‘They haven’t got a gun to our head. We are the government and we’re governing,’’ he told radio station 3AW.
‘‘We would expect that Labor would do the right thing by Victoria and stop being wreckers and vote for good legislation.’’
He pointed out that two pieces of legislation have already passed after Mr Shaw was suspended.
But Treasurer Michael O’Brien said Labor didn’t even bother debating one of the bills.
‘‘They were asleep at the wheel,’’ he told radio station 774 ABC. ‘‘They were so interested in creating this sideshow they weren’t focusing on the job at hand.’’
He said it was a ‘‘good week’’ for the government because the budget was passed.
Former Labor premier John Brumby said the whole affair had put a spotlight on the state.
‘‘But it’s probably put the spotlight on Victoria for all the wrong reasons,’’ he told ABC TV.
In an attempt to reclaim the political agenda, Dr Napthine held a press conference on Thursday to declare he was “getting on with the job”.
He said the government would introduce important sentencing reforms next sitting week, and urged Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews to be a “builder” rather than a “wrecker”.
Attorney-General Robert Clark called on Mr Andrews to support tougher sentence for pedophiles.
“We are looking to Daniel Andrews to support that legislation. If Daniel Andrews wants to impose tougher sentences for pedophiles and drug traffickers he needs to come out and say so,” Mr Clark said.
With Henrietta Cook