Speaker quits with swipe at 'outrageous' Geoff Shaw
SPEECH IN FULL: Victorian Speaker Ken Smith lashes both rogue independent MP Geoff Shaw and the Labor Party as he resigns from his post.PT4M18S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-31yq6 620 349 February 4, 2014
Balance-of-power MP Geoff Shaw has fired another shot at the government, voting against its business program and plunging the parliament back into disarray.
The vote means the government cannot guarantee the passage of any bills through the parliament this week.
Mr Shaw's vote against the program came less than two hours after the new Speaker, Liberal MP Christine Fyffe, presided over her first question time.
Ken SMith claims Frankston MP Geoff Shaw has been in talks with Labor to destabilise the government. Photo: Jason South
Ms Fyffe oversaw her first parliamentary question time following Ken Smith's resignation from the speakership.
Ms Fyffe was elected unopposed as speaker. She had been Mr Smith’s deputy and Labor had previously said she would be a good speaker.
Ms Fyffe’s first question time was largely uneventful although she was tested once when Labor demanded the Premier withdraw comments that suggest the ALP accept corrupt money.
Earlier, Mr Smith ended months of instability in the parliament by announcing his resignation for the good of the parliament.
In a scathing resignation speech, Mr Smith said independent MP Geoff Shaw was not worthy of being in a politician and accused him of colluding with Labor to bring him down from the chair.
“I will not be held to ransom to comply with his [Mr Shaw’s] demands, and I suggest to the house I have no confidence in the member for Frankston and actually I believe that he is unworthy of being a member of parliament,’’ Mr Smith said.
Geoff Shaw said he was "disgusted" that Mr Smith had made such "undignified" comments .
"I am disgusted that in the highest office in parliament you can stand up and make those statements, so undignified, attacking members of parliament."
"He went out with no dignity."
Mr Smith’s decision ends months of instability in parliament, which included several suspensions of parliament.
The cloud over Mr Smith gathered last year when balance of power independent Geoff Shaw declared a lack of confidence in Mr Smith’s ability to control the Parliament.
Labor, already accusing Mr Smith of bias, seized on Mr Shaw’s position to challenge the Speaker’s authority leading to a deadlock.
Mr Smith said Mr Shaw turned against him after he refused to yield to the independent MP’s demands.
"I believe the member changed his mind about my role as speaker after I declined a number of outrageous demands that were made from him to me," he said.
"Demands that went against policy and regulations, which I would not give into."
Mr Smith said it was common knowledge that Labor had been colluding with Mr Shaw to pressure Mr Smith to step down and bring down the government.
“The unacceptable and unparliamentary behaviour of the leader of the opposition shows poor leadership, or typical union tactics in his willingness to collaborate with the member for Frankston who, up until recently, he saw fit to call a rorter and saw he was corrupt,’’ Mr Smith said.
He said Mr Andrews' decision to refer Mr Shaw to the police showed how low some people in politics could stoop.
“The public, of course, will judge for themselves for what is right and wrong.’’
Mr Smith will remain the member of Bass.
Mr Shaw had a stern expression on his face at the start of Mr Smith’s attack on him, but this evolved into a smile as the Speaker ended his extraordinary statement.
The Frankston MP shook his head at one stage, and also looked at his phone.