North East politicians with nought to say

Bill Sykes
Bill Sykes

FORGET Spring Street, say some of the North East’s politicians — we’re just getting on with the job.

As a tumultuous week in Victorian politics drew to a close, Bill Sykes, Tim McCurdy and Bill Tilley maintained their silence on matters Geoff Shaw.

Instead, they insisted it was “business as usual” in Benalla, Murray Valley and Benambra.

“We’re getting on with governing,” Dr Sykes said.

“I’m the member for Benalla and I’m getting on with doing that because that’s what my delegations are.

“Management at a higher level is for the leadership team and I have faith in them.”

Parliament will resume on Tuesday, at which point Labor plans to bring forward a motion to find Frankston independent, and former Liberal, Mr Shaw in contempt of Parliament and call for his immediate expulsion, over misuse of parliamentary privileges.

If the motion were successful — which would rely on Liberal MP and former speaker Ken Smith crossing the floor, as he has indicated he would do — it could trigger a by-election for Frankston.

But the government has stated it would possibly seek to have Mr Shaw instead suspended.

Dr Sykes would not be drawn on commenting further on the drama.

“(The Geoff Shaw matter) needs to be dealt with obviously, but it’s not for me to have an opinion on the best course of action,” he said.

Dr Sykes said reports of “dysfunctional Parliament” were ill-informed and a beat-up.

“Last week, leaving aside the theatrics of question time, parliamentary business was conducted without impediment,” he said.

Did he think North East voters would punish the Coalition because of its ties with Mr Shaw? — No.

“In country Victoria the personal performance of an individual has a much greater influence than which party they come from,” Dr Sykes said

Murray Valley MP Tim McCurdy agreed with that sentiment.

He has distanced himself from the matter, and declined to comment further, though earlier in the week said he knew Mr Shaw “very well” and that he and Labor Leader Daniel Andrews were “grandstanding”.

Benambra MP Bill Tilley, the government whip, also had little to say on Mr Shaw.