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Crikey Says

Jun 5, 2014

Crikey says: defend democracy, including Geoff Shaw

Razer takes on Turnbull. We send Pyne his HECS bill -- and you can too. Keane on why our intelligence oversight is inadequate. Chris Mitchell speaks. Is Abbott’s jet really clapped out? A more accurate economic history. And Pilger’s shouty film out of touch with reality.

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Victorian balance-of-power MP Geoff Shaw misused his taxpayer-funded car and fuel card. As an independent MP, he has sought to hold the Coalition government to ransom, threatening to bring his former party down. He now stands accused of bringing Parliament to a halt to defend his own career.

It’s not hard to argue that Victoria would be better off without Shaw in Parliament.

But the push to expel Shaw, an elected representative, from Parliament should be treated with caution. Unpleasant as he may be, the people voted him in, and the politicians should be very careful before they throw him out.

It would set an alarming precedent; that the major parties can gang up to remove a “difficult” elected representative from Parliament.

Yet that is the scenario being seriously canvassed by Victoria’s Labor opposition in the current crisis sweeping over that state’s delicate parliamentary balance.

There are only three sensible words for Victoria’s opposition leader Daniel Andrews as he contemplates this bizarre precedent: don’t do it.

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10 thoughts on “Crikey says: defend democracy, including Geoff Shaw

  1. Jeff Shaw is not your average pain in the proverbial MP.
    His remarkable adventures in parliament, combined with a “surprising” ability to avoid legal sanction from the DPP, marks him as a special case. That said, the precedent of expelling him from parliament sort of screams “unexpected consequences”.
    On the other hand, having a dysfunctional parliament until Nov doesn’t really sound too hot either.

    Interesting times indeed.

  2. It’s funny how much a Party will put up with while they need someone’s vote – like Howard, Nelson, Turnbull and Abbott while Slipper was of use?
    But it’s only after they jump ship, they gain “rat” status?

  3. Agreed. Andrews has allowed himself to become over-excited. The electorate of Frankston will deal the execrable Shaw his just deserts in six months’ time, no need for Labor to intercede & undermine the system.

  4. This is an unforeseen consequence of fixed four year terms which is a populist reform of the Westminster system driven by talkback radio.

    The Westminster system has evolved over about 900 years and though it needs to continue to evolve, changes should be made with a great deal of caution.

    The Premier should be able to go to the governor and dissolve parliament and call an election. But he can’t, to the detriment of citizens in Victoria.

  5. David Hand – fixed terms were brought in to stop premiers playing silly buggers with unnecessary elections for purely opportunistic reasons. The old system had its own problems.

  6. This wasn’t a dodgy claims situation, a la the Brandis wedding thing. Shaw was found to be old school corrupt, using taxpayer money to fund his business. He got a slap on the wrist. The penalty for such corruption should be automatic expulsion from parliament.

  7. Yes Malcolm. That is correct. There was all that huffing and puffing about the premier using the right to call an election for political advantage.

    Now we’ve got this.