Daniel Andrews has denied claims that the only reason he led Labor to a third election was so he could have a statue of him erected early next year.
Any Victorian premier who serves 3,000 days in office gets immortalised with a statue outside the State Government Office at No 1 Treasury Place in Melbourne.
But on Sunday morning, after winning Saturday’s state election, Mr Andrews said: ‘I’m not about legacies. (I’m) about working hard and getting things done.’
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Deputy Premier Jacinta Allen are pictured in Melbourne on Sunday, November 27, 2022. On Saturday, Mr Andrews led Labor to victory at the state election, for a third straight term in power
Henry Bolte (left) and Albert Dunstan (right) are two of the four existing statues at 1 Treasury Place outside the Premier’s Melbourne office
As of Sunday, Mr Andrews has been Premier for 2,915 days and will reach the 3,000 days milestone in February.
Doing so would make him just the fifth premier to get a statue and the first to get it while still in power – if he stuck around.
Conservative commentator Peta Credlin thought Mr Andrews would remain premier long enough to earn the statue, but not long enough to still be in charge by the time it’s unveiled.
‘I don’t think he’s around a long time,’ she told Daily Mail Australia just before election day. ‘I think he’ll want to make history.
‘Sometime early next year he ends up winning his little statue out the front of the premier’s office and then he’ll p**s off and leave it to the woman, Jacinta Allan, which will enable them to effectively rebrand themselves.’
On Sunday morning, as he appeared with his deputy, Ms Allen, the premier insisted: ‘I’ve never been about (getting a statue).’
‘I have to tell you. This is a serious issue… I’ve never been about this,’ he said.
Sky News commentator Peta Credlin believes Daniel Andrews will quit politics shortly after he qualifies to have a statue erected in his honour early next year. Pictured is Mr Andrews’ face superimposed on a statue of Labor predecessor John Cain
Mr Andrews claimed a ‘monument’ he was more proud of was an infrastructure project in southeast Melbourne.
‘When I go down to my community in Noble Park to drop Joe off at the skate park or pick him up, just above the skate park is the sky rail and the new Noble Park station [that cost] $1 billion,’ he said.
‘No-one has ever spent $1 billion in Noble Park before but [it is] a better community because of it.
‘That’s the statue, that’s the monument.
‘But it’s not a monument to me, it’s a monument to women and men who built it. Because we had a positive plan and we didn’t waste a moment delivering it.’
Mr Andrews said one of the reasons why Labor was reelected was that his government was not just about him,
‘I lead a fantastic team of committed people who worked really hard every day to make our state fairer and stronger and to do what matters,’ he said.
‘It is a privilege, it’s an honour and we are delighted to have four more years of hard work to go and we will do it, every single day.’
Victoria’s longest serving premiers
Henry Bolte: 17 years and 78 days (Liberal and Liberal Country Party, 1955-1972)
Rupert Hamer: 8 years and 287 days (Liberal Party, 1972-1981)
Albert Dunstan: 8 years and 166 days (United Country Party, 1935-1945)
John Cain: 8 years and 125 days (Labor Party, 1982-1990)
Daniel Andrews: (Labor Party, entered office December 4, 2014)
Steve Bracks: 7 years and 284 days (Labor Party, 1999-2007)
Jeff Kennett: 7 years and 15 days (Liberal Party, 1992-1999)
The statue honour was created by former Liberal premier Jeff Kennett, who expected he would be a beneficiary by winning the 1999 state election.
But Mr Kennett was voted out in that election after 2,571 days in office.
Currently there are four statues – Albert Dunstan (Country Party, 3,834 days, 1935-45), Henry Bolte (Liberal, 6,288 days, 1955-72), Rupert Hamer (Liberal, 3,209 days, 1972-81) and John Cain (Labor, 3,047 days, 1982-90).
Credlin, a one time chief-of staff to former prime minister Tony Abbott, predicted Labor would win in Victoria, but she got the margin very wrong.
‘It will be tighter than people will expect,’ she said. ‘(Mr Andrews) will suffer in his heartland and the Greens in the inner city will take some skin off him.’
Though Credlin was right about the Greens, as of Sunday morning Labor is on track to hold its seat number of 55 and may get to 56, despite a fall in its primary vote.
Mr Kennett was scathing about the likelihood of there being a statue of Mr Andrews erected.
‘If there’s a Daniel statue, I think the other four will all jump off their pedestals and run,’ he told The Australian earlier this year.