'A word that rhymes with banker'
A war of words erupts over what Liberal MP Geoff Shaw said in Victoria's state parliament.PT0M0S 620 349
Frankston MP Geoff Shaw's misuse of his parliamentary car has been referred to the privileges committee, but the embattled government MP's evidence will not be heard in public despite efforts by Labor.
The referral ended a chaotic day in Spring Street, which began when Mr Shaw was accused of calling Labor MPs ''wankers'', as well as making an obscene gesture, in Parliament.
Geoff Shaw ought to go from the parliamentary Liberal party. He is a permanent stain on the integrity and standing of the Premier.
Mr Shaw withdrew the comments ''unconditionally'' at the third attempt - he twice withdrew, conditionally, saying he would withdraw ''whatever it is''.
Little bird: Frankston MP Geoff Shaw, centre. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones
He later issued a statement saying he said ''wackers'' and was simply pointing at the opposition. Labor backbenchers, who were in the chamber, disagreed with this.
The Spring Street press gallery requested vision from Parliament when Mr Shaw made the comments, but the Speaker's office said no vision would be provided to the media.
Late yesterday afternoon Mr Shaw, who the Ombudsman found had misused his parliamentary car to help run his hardware business, was referred to the government-dominated privileges committee, as recommended by the Ombudsman.
Labor moved amendments to force the committee to take Mr Shaw's evidence in public, which the Coalition voted against.
Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews last night told The Age that the government's decision to vote against the public hearing was one ''of the greatest acts of political hypocrisy anyone has ever seen''.
''We all remember Ted Baillieu giving us pious lectures about standards and integrity in public office, the issue is clear for everyone to see the Premier's integrity is in tatters, because he has put his majority ahead of his integrity,'' Mr Andrews said.
''He is a permanent stain on the integrity and standing of the Premier.''
Mr Shaw was forced to vote to have himself referred to the committee as well as have his evidence heard in private.
Mr Baillieu and Deputy Premier Peter Ryan both voted but were absent for the debate, as was Mr Shaw.
Yesterday senior ministers continued to say Mr Shaw was a good local member.
Mr Andrews pointed to the fact that the privileges committee is dominated by five government MPs, including three ministers and Mr Ryan, whose MPs relied on Mr Shaw's vote to stay in power.
Mr Andrews warned that the committee would not come back with the most serious findings.
Throughout the debate the government argued it was following the recommendations of the Ombudsman to send the issue to the privileges committee. Energy Minister Michael O'Brien said Labor had been ''petulant'' and ''sour faced" since the Ombudsman's report had been released.
''The opposition has spat the dummy … they have thrown the toys out of the cot because they did not get the outcome from the Ombudsman that they were desperately hoping for,'' Mr O'Brien said.
He also said the government would not be lectured by the Labor Party about integrity.
Mr Andrews used the debate to lash Mr Shaw for bringing contempt on the Parliament as well as heaping pressure on Mr Baillieu for supporting him, referring to Mr Baillieu's previous comments that Mr Shaw was a good local member.
During the debate Mr Andrews called Mr Shaw's conduct ''deceitful'', ''deceptive'' and ''without any doubt deliberate''.
''Those who stand shoulder to shoulder with the rorting member for Frankston, stand equally condemned - they will need to live with the indelible stain that they failed the test of leadership,'' Mr Andrews said.