THE wait to find out whether Frankston MP Geoff Shaw will preference the Liberal Party above Labor at this month’s state election goes on.
The rebel MP’s preferences could prove to be crucial in deciding which party wins the prized marginal Frankston seat.
A Melbourne-based tabloid newspaper reported last week that the former Liberal, now independent, MP is “likely” to preference the Liberals over Labor but the decision was less clear cut when The Times contacted Mr Shaw’s office late last week.
A spokesman for Mr Shaw said there is no preferences agreement with the Liberal Party two weeks out from the election.
“As occurs around this time before an election, talks are being had with other candidates about their preference plans but decisions are still yet to be made and finalised,” the spokesman said.
When asked what the Liberal Party would have to promise for the area for a preference swap to be agreed, the spokesman said “anything that the Liberal Party wants to secure for Frankston is entirely up to them.”
Mr Shaw is unlikely to have enough support to retain the seat of Frankston outright but he could ultimately be a ‘kingmaker’ with his preferences determining whether Liberal candidate Sean Armistead or Labor candidate Paul Edbrooke becomes Frankston’s next member of parliament.
While Mr Shaw may have less than a sporting chance to claim victory on 29 November, some sports clubs have been fulsome in their praise for the controversial MP.
Frankston Dolphins general manager Simon Green said “Geoff has been a wonderful support for the Frankston Football Club during his tenure as state representative, and for sport in general all throughout the region, for that matter.”
Mr Green made the observation when Mr Shaw visited Frankston oval last week to call on any incoming state government to pledge $200,000 towards a stadium lighting upgrade to enable the club to host night games for various age groups and competitions.
“This is extremely exciting for the club moving forward, and will provide a wonderful opportunity for the local leagues to promote their competitions and draw greater support from the wider community,” Mr Green said.
Mr Shaw noted “Frankston Oval is a truly iconic ground which brings tens of thousands of visitors into Frankston throughout the year”.
“We will see more juniors from Frankston pursuing their sporting dreams,” he said.
“Over the last four years, my team and I have secured almost $3.1 million in state government funding for a dozen different sporting clubs and associations throughout Frankston.”