Embattled Liberal MP Geoff Shaw has denied that he called Labor MPs wankers in parliament today, saying that he in fact used the word ‘‘wacker’’.
Mr Shaw, who is this afternoon the focus of debate in the privileges committee over claims he misused his parliamentary car, was accused of using the word ‘‘wanker’’ in the parliamentary chamber and making an accompanying obscene gesture with his hand.
''Geoff Shaw ought to go from the parliamentary Liberal party. He is a permanent stain on the integrity and standing of the Premier,'' Opposition leader Daniel Andrews said.
Opposition manager of business Jacinta Allan asked Mr Shaw to withdraw for "offensive abuse hurled" across the chamber and Labor MPs said he had called Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews a wanker.
The Speaker asked Mr Shaw to withdraw unconditionally, but Mr Shaw first said he would withdraw "whatever it is" then with condition, sparking outrage from Mr Andrews.
"The member for Frankston will find it hard to withdraw the obscene hand gesture he used," Mr Andrews said.Mr Shaw, at the third attempt, unconditionally withdrew.
In a statement released this afternoon, Mr Shaw said the hand gesture he was accused of making was merely pointing.
"I used the word "wacker", he said in the statement.
"I withdrew the remark unconditionally, as requested by the Speaker. However, I emphatically deny that I made the remark then attributed to me by Labor, nor did I make any offensive gesture. Opposition members were shouting at me and pointing, so I simply pointed back at them."
But 15 minutes after Mr Shaw's statement three Labor backbenchers, all of whom were in the chamber this morning, fronted the media to rebut Mr Shaw.
"What I heard and what I saw I would not accept if I was in a pub, let alone in parliament. The word was obvious and the hand gesture made it more obvious," Marsha Thomson said.
Asked if the word rhymed with ’’banker,’’ Ms Thomson, Liz Beattie and Natalie Hutchins all said yes.
Mr Andrews told journalists that the obscene comments were "the last straw."
"Geoff Shaw ought to go from the parliamentary Liberal party. He is a permanent stain on the integrity and standing of the Premier," Mr Andrews said.
"For so long as the Premier stands by this excuse for a member of parliament, he has no right, the Premier, to talk about integrity."
Premier Ted Baillieu has previously described Mr Shaw as a good local representative.