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Intrigue intensifies in Victorian politics as major parties hone Shaw strategy -

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ELEANOR HALL: To the latest on the political chaos in Victoria, and while he didn't take up the Opposition leader's offer yesterday, this morning the Premier Denis Napthine did visit the state's Governor.

This sent journalists into a flurry but it turned out to be just a regular scheduled visit.

The Premier did though confirm that the Government is seeking legal and constitutional advice about how to resolve the crisis sparked by the balance of power MP, former Liberal- turned-independent Geoff Shaw's offer to back a no-confidence motion in the Government.

The Labor Opposition is indicating that instead it intends to rid the Parliament of Mr Shaw, despite warnings that suspending the rogue MP could create a dangerous precedent.

In Melboune, Alison Caldwell reports.

ALISON CALDWELL: Effectively nothing has changed in Victorian politics. Denis Napthine is still the Premier and members of his Cabinet are still out and about making announcements in their portfolios.

But because the Coalition here holds government by just one vote and because the MP for Frankston, the former Liberal-turned-independent Geoff Shaw holds the balance of power in the Lower House, state politics in Victoria is more intriguing than ever.

This morning the Premier visited the Governor. He spoke to ABC Local Radio soon after and said it was a regular breakfast meeting.

DENIS NAPTHINE: I was able to have a cup of coffee and a piece of toast. Well, let me tell you I had vegemite on one piece of toast and strawberry jam on the other.

ALISON CALDWELL: The Opposition meanwhile held a special caucus meeting this morning to discuss strategy ahead of next Tuesday's parliamentary sitting. Labor wants to expel Geoff Shaw from Parliament over his misuse of parliamentary entitlements.

The Government is reportedly keen to suspend Mr Shaw as opposed to expelling him.

Premier Napthine wouldn't confirm that, instead he says they're seeking legal advice.

DENIS NAPTHINE: We want to make sure that when the Parliament deals with this matter that an appropriate punishment is meted out to Mr Shaw and that that punishment is enforceable.

ALISON CALDWELL: The Opposition leader Daniel Andrews says there's no legal issue.

DANIEL ANDREWS: I can understand why the Premier wants to try and hide behind legal issues and legal arguments, he's very much tied to Mr Shaw, but the time for that sort of weakness is over. We need to act and we need to do so decisively.

ALISON CALDWELL: Expelling Geoff Shaw from Parliament could trigger a by-election.

Dr Nick Economou is a senior lecturer in politics at Monash University.

NICK ECONOMOU: I think in this situation the Government might feel that it has a lot to lose. We're not far from a scheduled election for November 29th and the opinion polls are indicating that the Victorian electorate might tip this government out.

What Dr Napthine would desperately wish to avoid for political reasons would be a by-election that indicates that the polls were right. That would make his position as leader untenable. It would make the Government's political crisis even worse.

ALISON CALDWELL: It's been reported that the Government would prefer to suspend Geoff Shaw as opposed to expelling him. Why's that?

NICK ECONOMOU: Absolutely correct and that's interesting because that's the thing that's crystallised since the faux constitutional crisis erupted on Tuesday night. It's clear that both the Government and the Opposition want to deal with Mr Shaw.

For the Government, suspension of Mr Shaw has two attractive propositions. Firstly, it deals with Shaw and removes his ability to vote in the legislative assembly. That would then allow the Government to run the legislative assembly with the assistance of the casting vote of the speaker.

ALISON CALDWELL: What sort of precedent would that create in terms of Victoria and even the country? He hasn't done anything criminal. He hasn't been found guilty of anything.

NICK ECONOMOU: That's right. Look that's really interesting. The question of precedent you've got to go way way back into colonial times in Victoria to find the last instances of parliamentarians who were expelled as a result of a recommendation for privileges, a committee recommendation.

Remember too that's back in the days before we had modern political parties.

I mean basically what we're seeing here in Victoria is the consequence of firstly the very close result in the 2010 election but I think more importantly the lack of unity and discipline within the Liberal Party. When this is all done and dusted, the Liberal Party is going to have to stop and ask itself how on earth could someone like Geoff Shaw have been pre-selected as a Liberal MP?

ELEANOR HALL: That's Monash University's Dr Nick Economou ending Alison Caldwell's report.