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Jacinta Allan's bid for Victorian Premier after Daniel Andrews resigns

Anna McGuinness
Updated September 26 2023 - 4:30pm, first published 1:38pm
WATCH: Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has sensationally resigned after leading the state since 2014.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced his resignation as Premier and state member for Mulgrave.

At a snap press conference on September 26 and joined by family, the Labor leader said he would resign effective 5pm the following day.

"It has been the honour and privilege of my life," he said.

"You never want to get to a point where you resent this job. I simply won't allow that to happen.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews with his wife Catherine after announcing his resignation. Picture by AAP Image/Diego Fedele
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews with his wife Catherine after announcing his resignation. Picture by AAP Image/Diego Fedele

"I'm also proud to think of all that we have achieved over these nine years in good times, and bad, always working hard to do what's right.

"Not simply what's popular every day has been about the only thing that really matters, getting things done."

Mr Andrews has been Victoria's Premier since December 2014, having entered state parliament in 2002.

He said conversations with his children about what life would look like after politics had spurred on the decision.

"It's not an easy job, being premier of our state. That's not a complaint. That's just a fact it requires 100 per cent from you and your family."

Mr Andrews told reporters he planned to spend some time off following his resignation with his wife Catherine and three children, and said it was highly unlikely he would return to the public sector after serving 21 years.

He is set to visit the Victorian Governor to officially resign, with his successor to be decided by a caucus vote on September 27.

Victorian Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan. Picture file
Victorian Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan. Picture file

Deputy Premier Jacinta Allan congratulated Mr Andrews and has revealed she will put her hand up for the position.

"I will be putting myself forward to lead our party & continue the extraordinary work of our Labor government," she said on X, formerly Twitter.

"Out of respect for my colleagues & the party process I will not be making further comment before the caucus meeting."

Highs and lows from nearly a decade at the helm

Mr Andrews wouldn't be drawn on his biggest achievements in office, rather he said his legacy would be decided by others.

But he said he had given some thought to the best and worst moments as leader.

Mr Andrews listed one of the "very worst" moments as speaking to the families of the four police officers who died - referring to the horror 2020 Eastern Freeway crash in Melbourne.

One of his highlights he said was a recent ride on a test train as part of the new Metro Tunnel project.

"I travelled underneath the city at 80 km/h on a train that was made right here in Victoria, through a tunnel that's getting very close to being finished - all because of the good work of Victorians," he said.

When asked if he would do anything differently Mr Andrews said he wasn't a regretful person and always looked to the future.

"I'm sure many people would have answers to that question and they might run to more than one thing but that's a matter for them - this is a democracy," he said.

"If you try and be 100 per cent popular and you are essentially scared of doing anything that might upset anybody then you get precisely nothing done."

Opposition leader says 'Victoria is broken'

Opposition leader John Pesutto has responded to the announcement in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

He said Mr Andrews' legacy was mounting debt, the highest taxes in the country, and major projects blowing out by more than $30 billion dollars.

"The legacy that Daniel Andrews leaves is a state that is broken. Victoria is broken, we know it, we see the evidence of it every day," Mr Pesutto said.

Opposition leader John Pesutto says Victoria is broken under Daniel Andrews. Picture file
Opposition leader John Pesutto says Victoria is broken under Daniel Andrews. Picture file

"After nine years in office are we better off under Daniel Andrews?

"It takes longer to wait for a hospital bed, it takes longer to wait for an ambulance, it costs more than anywhere else in the country to send your kid to a government school."

He said Mr Andrews had trashed Victoria's reputation and made false promises on the State Electricity Commission and the cancelled 2026 Commonwealth Games.

"Victorians know the challenges we now face as a result of corruption, incompetence and terrible waste," Mr Pesutto said.

"And all of this comes at a price, it means we have to miss out on other important things whether it's health, education, child protection, access to justice, better roads, better community facilities - that's the price we pay."

Mr Pesutto said Victoria should be a place to invest and be an engine room for the nation, as well as a leader in ethical standards of governance.

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"I wish Daniel Andrews well but we have to face the facts, he's leaving because Victoria under his leadership and his government is falling apart. Things don't have to be this way, we can fix things."

Nationals' leader in Victoria Peter Walsh said regional Victorians want to see a reset of government.

"Please have a reset, govern for all Victorians, bring back accountability, bring back truth - actually tell Victorians what's going on rather than this constant spin cycle of major announcements and nothing to follow it up," he said.

Prime Minister reflects on 'extraordinary legacy'

Mr Andrews said he had spoken to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in the morning, who he described as a dear friend for nearly three decades.

"He was a bit shocked I think but he wished me well," he said.

"I thanked him for the fact that finally at last we have a prime minister who might be from Sydney but he's not just for Sydney - he knows where Victoria is."

Mr Albanese said in a statement that Mr Andrews had built an "extraordinary legacy that will endure for generations".

He said his leadership had been tested through the "relentless pressure" of the COVID-19 pandemic but he had "never shirked the hard decisions".

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese describe each other as dear friends. Picture by Diego Fedele/AAP PHOTOS
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese describe each other as dear friends. Picture by Diego Fedele/AAP PHOTOS

"As Prime Minister, it was a pleasure for me to work alongside an old friend - and a leader of such vision and ambition," Mr Albanese said.

"It made a huge difference to sit at the National Cabinet table with someone who believed so deeply in the power of government to change lives for the better."

Former colleagues react to shock announcement

Former Victorian health minister Martin Foley who led alongside Mr Andrews during the pandemic told ABC News the announcement caught everyone in a "degree of shock".

"When we look back over an outstanding career, he's got to be considered the pre-eminent political figure of his era," Mr Foley said.

"[The COVID years] were extraordinarily challenging. Given the states collectively had to stand up into the breach that was created by the Commonwealth, Daniel was extraordinary.

"Exemplified by the 120 consecutive days he ran media conferences and bought Victoria through the biggest health crisis in 100 years."

Lisa Neville, former police minister, also spoke on the ABC and was asked whether she would like to see a woman step up as premier.

"I must say I am a very good friend of [deputy premier Jacinta Allan] and she would be an outstanding leader, as would some of the other names that have come up," Ms Neville said.

"I think it probably is that time to have a female premier again, it's been a long time.

"She's been part of the journey as well throughout that 20 years so she's got a lot to bring and a lot to offer."

Anna McGuinness

Anna McGuinness

Breaking News National Journalist