Ken Smith arrives for parliamentary showdown
Victoria's Speaker has little to say as he arrives early for what could be his last day in office, but the Premier and Opposition leader are more forthcoming.PT2M44S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2y792 620 349 November 26, 2013
- Live coverage from State Parliament this afternoon at www.theage.com.au
A deadlocked State Parliament is gearing up for a showdown today, with balance-of-power MP Geoff Shaw indicating that he still does not support Speaker Ken Smith.
Manager of government business Louise Asher said she had no idea what would happen in State Parliament when it resumes today after a two-week suspension.
Frankston MP Geoff Shaw has indicated he will not support Speaker Ken Smith when Parliament resumes today. Photo: Wayne Taylor
Ms Asher said it was a matter for Mr Shaw and the Labor Party.
"We can just wait and see," she said.
She said she did not know how Mr Shaw would vote and she hoped that eight bills would pass the lower house this sitting week. State Parliament descended into chaos last time it sat when Mr Smith shut down the lower house to avoid Labor exposing his lack of support through a vote.
It followed Mr Shaw declaring that he had lost confidence in the Speaker, who he accused of degrading the Parliament.
Ms Asher said Mr Shaw always "behaves properly" on the floor of the house and blamed Labor for the farcical scenes in State Parliament.
But Mr Shaw shows no sign of backing down, and lashed out at Mr Smith in an interview with News Corp Australia, saying the Speaker did not have his support and was "on a limb without anyone".
The independent Frankston MP said he did not support the Labor party's "disruptive" tactics but was unsure how he would vote on any motion backed by the Speaker.
Opposition leader Daniel Andrews said it was likely that State Parliament would be shut down again today if Ken Smith continued as Speaker.
"If you havent got the numbers on the floor of the house then you have absolutely no right to remain as the speaker," he said.
He said that the Premier should accept Labor's "olive branch" proposal of replacing Ken Smith with Deputy Speaker Christine Fyffe.
Mr Andrews said he had not spoken to Mr Shaw, but it was clear that the Frankston MP still lacked confidence in the Speaker.
Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader Peter Ryan said the Labor party should stop whinging and "grow up".
In an ominous sign for the Napthine government and the Speaker Ken Smith, a tight-lipped Mr Shaw entered Parliament via the front steps wearing a navy baseball cap.
He did not answer questions from reporters and accidentally got tangled with a television cameraman.
There was talk that the MP had been asked to remain absent to ensure the government did not rely on his vote.