FORMER Liberal party MP Geoff Shaw, while not accepting full responsibility, does admit to being “probably the straw that broke the camel’s back” when it came to the resignation of then Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu.
But, nearly a decade later, Shaw would clearly like to be credited with the downfall of the current Premier Daniel Andrews.
The MP for Frankston from 2010 to 2014, Shaw was elected a Liberal but ended his controversial time in parliament sitting on the crossbenches.
Now, after years away from the public side of politics, he is about to make a comeback: firstly, as the author of the unashamedly ant-Andrews book Unmasked and, secondly, as a candidate for the United Australia Party in the November state election.
His bid to return to parliament, this time in the Upper House, is expected to be announced this week.
On Sunday (2 October) the closest he would get to acknowledging a position with the UAP was to say, “it’s on the cards, I reckon I’m in”.
Shaw said he had “put in an application” to be one of UAP’s 16 upper house candidates.
Now 54, Shaw says his election “theme”, if chosen to contest Northern Victoria, would be Hope for Victoria.
“It covers 44 per cent of the state but has been really neglected. The country has been left out of the [government’s] narrative.”
Even though Shaw says the demise of Baillieu, who was succeeded as premier by Denis Napthine, “is quite a while ago now”, he makes no such reservations when describing the rise and rise of Andrews in the Labor Party.
Six the chapters in Unmasked have “Dan” in the title, from Decisive Dan (chapter 1) to Defeated Dan (chapter 23). All the other chapters start with the letter D.
He mentions that his social posts, which included published news articles, attracted more than 100,000 hits and the attention of the police, state government, defence ministry and premier’s department. “I criticised, but made no personal attacks,” he says.
“I think the only person or thing that can defeat Dan is Dan himself.
He said if the book’s description of Andrews’s character, process and outcomes were not enough to sway the way people vote “I am not sure what will”.
Shaw says his wife Bianca suggested he write a book while enduring Victoria’s world record COVID lockdowns.
He also mentions the state recorded 38 per cent of COVID-related deaths in Australia while housing 25 per cent of the country’s population.
The promotional blurb accompanying Unmasked offers that the media, and Shaw’s “political foes”, have described him as a “rogue, rorter, rebel, and maverick; businessman, accountant, and former politician”.
Although charged in September 2013 with obtaining financial benefit by deception and one charge of misconduct in public office (mainly over the use of his parliamentary car) the Department of Public Prosecutions announced three months later that the charges had been dropped.
Shaw says there was no love lost between himself and then opposition leader Andrews, who publicly said he wanted Shaw “out of the Victorian parliament”.
Six years later Shaw says he was “just one of the millions of Victorians who suffered unprecedented governance of drastic, and stringent laws throughout the COVID-19 pandemic at the hands of now Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews”.
“If he gets voted back I, along with many others, will be exceptionally disappointed and I believe as a result we will see even more damage to the once great State of Victoria precipitating a mass exodus”.
Shaw says the words for Unmasked “just came flowing” during the lockdowns, three to four hours a day for about five months.
While he did not speak to Andrews, the premier’s actions and daily press releases “needed to be recorded – the title Unmasked just came to me, as it’s exposing him and his policies”.
Unmasked by Geoff Shaw can be bought online at danandrewsunmasked.com.au for $34.95 a hard copy or $24.95 for the e-book version.