Daniel Andrews has announced his resignation as Victorian Premier and quit politics in a shock call – confessing the 24/7 demands of the job had taken a toll.
Andrews called a snap press conference on Tuesday afternoon as he announced ‘it’s time’, flanked by his wife Catherine.
Andrews’ nine-year tenure as as Victoria’s longest serving Labor premier will officially end at 5pm Wednesday.
Andrews arguably became Australia’s most divisive politician – and certainly one of its most iconic – during the Covid pandemic.
He made the surprise decision to quit after discussions with Catherine and the couple’s three children, Grace, Joseph and Noah.
‘Today I will again visit Government House and resign as Premier and member for Mulgrave, effective 5pm tomorrow,’ Andrews said.
‘When it’s time, it’s time.
‘I have always known that the moment that happens, it is time to go and to give this privilege, this amazing responsibility to someone else.
READ MORE: Daniel Andrews quits LIVE: Daily Mail Australia’s live blog of the Premier’s resignation
Dan Andrews called a snap press press conference and announced he was quitting politics on Tuesday afternoon. Even some of his own caucus colleagues had no idea it was coming
He departed the media conference flanked by his wife Catherine and two of their children, Noah and Joseph
Andrews said: ‘It is not an easy job being premier of our state, but that is not a complaint – that is just fact.
‘It requires 100 per cent from you and your family, that of course, is time-limited and now is the time to step away.’
‘It’s not an easy job as Premier of our state. It requires 100 per cent from you and your family. That of course is time limited and now is the time to step away.
‘The only way that I know how to do this job is to have it consume me. Every waking moment is about work and that takes a toll.’
Andrews’ legacy includes a massive – and expensive – infrastructure program, the eradication of level crossings on Victorian roads and an enormous state debt of $135.4 billion next year.
Andrews said: ‘To have been premier for nine years and the leader of my party for 13 years is a greater set of opportunities than I ever thought would be afforded to me – a kid from the country with only really an aspiration to do good, to work hard, to work with teams of people that perhaps make things better.’
Andrews’ resignation came as a shock to his Labor caucus colleagues – some openly telling reporters they had no idea the political earthquake was coming.
Amdrews had initially vowed to see out his current term, which runs until 2026, after he won a landslide election victory last year.
The new Premier will be elected at a caucus meeting on Wednesday.
The frontrunners include Mr Andrews’ deputy premier Jacinta Allan and MP Ben Carroll from the Labor Right faction.
Ms Allan’s standing has taken a beaten recently as she was the relevant minister for the delivery of the Commonwealth Games – which Mr Andrews cancelled.
READ MORE: Was video of Daniel Andrews smoking the first sign Victorian Premier was about to resign?
Dan Andrews walks away from his final media conference as Premier supported by wife Catherine, who appeared visibly emotional
The Premier was flanked by his his wife and two sons Joseph and Noah at the snap presser
An emotional Catherine Andrews was supported by their sons as the Premier made the shock announcement
Mr Andrews became premier in November 2014, booting out a first-term Liberal government, and led Labor to two more victories in 2018 and 2022.
He became one of Australia’s best known and most divisive leaders during the Covid pandemic when he shut down Melbourne for the world’s longest lockdown.
Critics roundly slammed Mr Andrews as ‘Chairman Dan’ and ‘Dictator Dan’ due to the stringency of his Covid measures, which included vaccine mandates and the country’s toughest restrictions.
The Premier insists he has no regrets, despite coming under fire for a string of controversial decisions
‘I am not a regretful person and I do not look back, I have always been focused on the future.
‘I’ve never been about being 100 per cent popular. If you try and be 100 per cent popular, you’re essentially scared of doing anything that might upset anybody, you get precisely nothing done and then you finish up deeply unpopular.
‘I worked that one out a while ago. It is for others to judge what I have done and not done.’
Mr Andrews looks forward to having some time off to spend more time with the family, ‘play a bit of golf’ and start reading a growing pile of unread books.
‘I’ll do a few things that are about me and I am going to go through what would be a fairly challenging adjustment,’ he said.
Daniel Andrews quit politics following discussions with his family (pictured together on 2022 election day)
He added he has no plans to leave the state as he shrugged off the public scrutiny has been under in recent years.
‘This is my home, the thing about it is this, for all the kind of negative stuff that you get from time to time, and it’s not the best feature of modern politics, some of the stuff that is said and written, but it is there and it does not bother me,’ he said.
‘It has never fazed me. I have a very thick skin and you need that to do this job, but that’s the thing, it’s not about me, the role is too important for that.
‘The work is too important for that, people can say whatever they want about me, good and bad. It has always been about the work.’
Shortly before the announcement, Sky News reported that Melbourne identity and TV personality Eddie McGuire told a packed lunch that Victoria would have a new premier by AFL Grand Final day, which is just four days away.
It is unclear why McGuire, a well-connected Victorian personality and former Collingwood president, had advance notice.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was among the first to pay tribute, describing Mr Andrews as a titan of the political age.