Shaw can be expelled, opposition says

Geoff Shaw can be expelled from the Victorian parliament, according to legal advice obtained by the opposition, as it renewed calls for the Napthine government to banish the independent MP.


Shadow attorney-general Martin Pakula released advice obtained from constitutional lawyer George Williams AO, which concludes the Victorian Parliament has the power to expel a member.

Describing Mr Williams as one of the country’s top constitutional experts, Mr Pakula called on the Napthine government to take decisive action against Mr Shaw.

“The legal advice makes it absolutely clear that parliament has the power to expel a member of parliament, and in the opposition’s view this removes from the government the last excuse not to act,” he said on Sunday.

“This advice is clear, it is unequivocal and it is from an extremely eminent constitutional lawyer.”

Mr Pakula reiterated the opposition’s intention to seek Mr Shaw’s expulsion when parliament resumes on Tuesday.

“This is a big step, the opposition does not deny that, but the actions of Mr Shaw are unprecedented,” he said.

“We believe the circus has to end.”

Premier Denis Napthine has said the government will not be held to ransom by Mr Shaw, but has refused to say if he should be suspended or expelled when parliament sits.

His Health Minister David Davis said on Sunday the government was still in the process of testing it’s own legal advice.

“What is important is to make sure that we move in a way that is legally safe and legally secure and the government is obtaining detailed advice on those matters to make sure we take the proper steps in the proper way at the proper time,” he said.

A parliamentary privileges committee found Mr Shaw breached the MP code of conduct by misusing his parliamentary car for his private hardware business.

Mr Pakula said it would be unacceptable to stop short of expulsion and simply suspended Mr Shaw from parliament in a move that may still allow him to collect a salary.

“I think the people of Frankston and the people of Victoria more generally would be appalled at the notion,” he said.