The Hon Dan Andrews MP, the 48th Premier of Victoria and the longest-serving Labor Premier of the state, today announced his resignation after months of speculation that he would hang up his political gloves.
He will visit the Governor tonight to formally resign as Premier and Member for Mulgrave, effective 5pm Wednesday 27 September 2023. The decision will not only mean a new premier but a likely shakeup of Cabinet and byelections as other long-standing MPs consider their future in the new Labor Government.
It also means a shift in Labor power politics nationally, as Mr Andrews was the ranking Labor premier in National Cabinet and highly influential figure in Labor politics.
Mr Andrews said it was not an easy decision “but when it’s time, it’s time.”
Premier Andrews was elected leader of the party following Labor’s 2010 state election loss and led the party back into Government after one term, winning the 2014 election.
He retained government in 2018 and again in 2022, despite extended Covid lockdowns and high debt and deficits. More recently, he faced criticism for the decision to cancel the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
The Premier declined to nominate what he was most proud of in the job, saying his legacy is for other people to determine and gave no indication about what he’ll do next.
Former Premier Steve Bracks said his legacy will be seen as a state builder with a great mix of strong, effective leadership and bringing about transformational infrastructure projects and social reforms like voluntary assisted dying.
His close ally Prime Minister Anthony Albanese paid tribute, saying he “has always been a builder and in education, health, infrastructure and housing he has built an extraordinary legacy that will endure for generations.”
Victorian Opposition Leader John Pesutto has wished departing Premier Daniel Andrews well but said, “Victoria is broken, we know it, we see the evidence of it every day,” leaving the state with mounting debt of $200 billion “that generations of Victorians will have to pay for and make sacrifices for.”
A Labor Caucus meeting will be held tomorrow at lunchtime to choose a new leader and the 49th premier of the state.
Current Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan has long been the favourite to succeed Mr Andrews but there is speculation Minister Ben Carroll could be a contender or likely Deputy. Ms Allan confirmed via X (formerly Twitter) that she will nominate. The Premier declined to endorse a successor at his press conference.
If Jacinta Allan becomes the new Premier, she will be the second woman to hold the office after Joan Kirner between 1990 and 1992.
The Victorian Labor rules do have a provision for rank-and-file members to vote for the party leader in specific circumstances, including the leader’s resignation.
If this happened, the process would take over a month and an interim leader would be appointed while the leadership candidates campaign to rank and file members and Caucus colleagues.
It’s more likely that Caucus will arrive at a consensus decision on the leadership team, meaning there is no ballot.
Premier Andrews’ departure could trigger a broader cabinet reshuffle and possibly other resignations from parliament, causing more by-elections.
Labor holds 55 of 88 seats in the Victorian Legislative Assembly, so the Premier’s resignation won’t affect their majority.
But other members of Cabinet may choose to resign from parliament, causing a ‘Super Saturday’ of by-elections across Labor held seats.
If this did happen, they would likely be completed before Christmas.
SEC Newgate will provide you with regular updates as the new leadership team is sworn in and any cabinet changes are announced.
For more information and what this means for you, please contact:
Katherine Hornbuckle, Associate Partner – [email protected]
Andrew Anson, Associate Partner – [email protected]