Filling an Andrews-shaped hole in Victoria
Daniel Andrews – the longest-serving premier in Victoria’s history and Australia’s best-known North Face enthusiast – will leave the job at the end of today. He’s been premier for 9 years and the leader of Victoria’s Labor Party for 13 years, and yesterday he said it was time to move on and put his family first (along with golf and some reading…). “It is not an easy decision because as much as we have achieved together, there’s so much more to do, but when it’s time, it’s time,” he said.
Was that a surprise?
Well, he went to last year’s state election telling voters he would stay on until 2026, so he’s broken that commitment. “It was true then, and I’ve changed my mind,” he said yesterday. The news will be clocked more widely than similar state politics moves because the pandemic put Andrews on the national news map due to the harsh restrictions he oversaw, particularly in Melbourne, which had more lockdowns than any other city in the world. But there’s a lot more to his time in office with all the highs and lows… PM Anthony Albanese (who flatted with Andrews when he was a new MP and the Victorian was a staffer in Canberra) said his friend will be remembered as “a man of great conviction, enormous compassion, and a fierce determination to make a difference.” But Victorian Coalition leader John Pesutto wasn’t so flattering… He says Andrews is going “because things have fallen apart … the legacy that Daniel Andrews leaves is a state that is broken.”
So who’s next?
Dunno, but everyone’s talking about Jacinta Allan. She was made deputy premier mid-last year, which many said was Andrews’ pointing to his successor. At this stage, no candidates have formally put themselves forward, so it’s unclear whether Allan will go through unchallenged. And we don’t have long to wait to find out – the Labor caucus will meet at 12pm today. Note: if it is Allan, she will be the second female premier of Victoria. The late Joan Kirner – Labor icon and Joan Jett fan – held the job from 1990-92.
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