Daniel Andrews’ Labor government has lost a fifth member in just three days with the announcement John Eren won’t be contesting the next election.
The Victorian premier announced the news on Friday afternoon and said he was ‘grateful’ for the friendship he shared with Mr Eren, who was the longtime member for Lara, north-east of Geelong.
‘I wish John and his family the very best for the future. I’m grateful for his friendship and support, just as I’m grateful for his contribution to the Parliament, the Government and his local community,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘I know we’ll keep seeing him live his values for years to come.’
Mr Eren had worked in parliament for close to 20 years and was a former cabinet minister.
The MP said that having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease as well as the pressure of the pandemic, that it was the right time to resign from politics.
‘It has been two years since I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. This diagnosis along with challenges brought about by the Covid pandemic has made me place a greater focus on my health and well-being and that of my family and friends, to value the ability to spend quality time with them,’ Mr Eren said.
Earlier on Thursday, Mr Andrews announced Planning Minister Richard Wynne would not be contesting the next election.
Mr Wynne issued a statement thanking his family and his political party for their support over the years.
‘I’m proud to be a part of this socially progressive, reforming government – but I am focusing on the next 12 months,’ the minister said.
‘If you believe in social progress, there is always more work to be done.’
It comes hot on the heels of former Attorney-General and Altona MP Jill Hennessy, Yan Yean MP Danielle Green and Ringwood MP Dustin Halse announcing they wouldn’t seek re-election.
The Victorian Labor Party has been thrown into disarray after three parliamentarians threw in the towel on Wednesday (pictured, Premier Daniel Andrews alongside local ministers) – with a fourth on Thursday
Mr Andrews on Thursday announced the fourth MP, Planning Minister Richard Wynne (pictured), would not be contesting the next election on Thursday
Others may not seek re-election, with Broadmeadows MP Frank Maguire and Narre Warren North MP Luke Donnellan rumoured to be considering their futures, the Herald Sun reports.
Mr Donnellan quit the cabinet in October after an anti-corruption hearing heard claims he paid for party membership fees on behalf of others as part of a branch-stacking operation.
The place of former ministers Marlene Kairouz and Robin Scott, who both featured in anticorruption hearings into taxpayer-funded staff, also remains up in the air.
Labor MPs have been asked to reveal their plans to run by the end of the week, with the national executive to decide on candidates in both houses by December 3.
The exodus has raised fears Labor could lose their comfortable majority – despite a recent Newspoll predicting Mr Andrews remains on track to win a third term.
Broadmeadows MP Frank Maguire (left) and Narre Warren North MP Luke Donnellan (right) are also rumoured to be considering their futures in the Labor Party
Ms Hennessy, the proud member for Altona in Melbourne’s southwest, was the first to bow out of the next election, which is scheduled for November 26, 2022.
The former Attorney-General and minister for Health, Ambulance Services and Workplace Safety announced the news on her Facebook page.
In December 2020, Ms Hennessy announced she would be stepping away from her role as chief lawmaker to spend more time with her teenage daughters.
‘No matter how precious your family is, politics can blind you their needs if you’re not careful. And life is short,’ she wrote on Wednesday.
Jill Hennessy, the proud member for Altona in Melbourne’s southwest, (pictured) was the first to bow out of the next election scheduled for November 26
‘After some reflection, I came to the view that making the commitment to serve another four-year term was incompatible with the other important priorities in my life, especially if I wanted to give them all the best of me.’
Ms Hennessy said she would always be an ‘ardent cheerleader’ for the cherished communities, leaders and organisations in Melbourne’s west.
She thanked Mr Andrews for giving her the opportunity to be part of a team who delivered ‘life-changing investments and reforms’.
Yan Yean MP Danielle Green (pictured) also advised she would not be seeking re-election
In turn, the premier said the MP had pioneered ‘some of the biggest reforms’ in Victoria including the nation’s first voluntary assisted dying scheme.
Mr Andrews said as Health Minister in their first term of government, Ms Hennessy had been ‘championing immunisation and taking on anti-vaxxers’ long before the Covid pandemic.
‘I want to thank Jill for the work she’s done, her years of service to the parliament and the Labor Party, and her dedication to our great movement,’ the premier said in a statement.
‘On a personal note, I want to thank her for her years of friendship and unwavering support – and wish her, Bernie and their daughters all the best for the future.’
MP for Yan Yean Danielle Green, also advised she would not be seeking re-election, after representing the locality in Melbourne’s northeast for nearly two decades.
The third and final MP to announce their resignation from politics was first-term Ringwood MP Dustin Halse (pictured)
‘It has been an honour and privilege to represent the people of Yan Yean and to have served in the Parliament of Victoria, since 2002,’ Ms Green wrote to Facebook.
The MP said she looked forward to a work-life balance that would allow her to care for her husband – who has been battling skin cancer – as well as her two sons.
Mr Andrews said Ms Green had fought ‘tooth and nail’ for the people of Yan Yean on issues such as local roads, access to TAFE or vital health and ambulance services.
The third and final MP to announce their resignation from politics on Wednesday was first-term Ringwood MP Dustin Halse.
Mr Halse described the decision to step down from his role as ‘one of the most difficult decisions’ of his life and said the last three years had been a privilege.
‘The global pandemic has forced us all to think about our priorities,’ he said.
‘And for me, that is looking after my young son, better supporting my wife and extended family, and taking my physical and mental health more seriously.’
The premier commended his efforts in removing two dangerous and congested level crossings as well as his passionate and committed advocacy for his community.