Daniel Andrews’ new female deputy is confirmed in Victoria – so is she now favourite to be the state’s next premier?
- Dan Andrews deputy has been named as highly experienced Jacinta Allan, 48
- The Transport infrastructure minister is tipped to replace Andrews as premier
- Four senior government ministers announced retirement from Victorian politics
Dan Andrews has a new deputy after a factional deal promoted the woman who is widely tipped to become his successor.
Transport infrastructure minister Jacinta Allan, Australia’s longest-serving female minister, was named deputy premier of Victoria.
It is understood Andrews wants Ms Allan to succeed him in the top job, although they are both from the Labor Party’s left faction and successors have usually come from the opposing faction.
She was elected to Parliament in 1999 when, at age 26, she defeated a sitting Liberal MP more than twice her age in the rural city of Bendigo.
Despite being only 48, she could soon revive a long Australian political tradition of a woman taking over from a man who struggles in the top job.
Transport infrastructure minister Jacinta Allan, 48, is Australia’s longest-serving female minister and has now been named deputy premier of Victoria
It is understood Andrews wants Ms Allan to succeed him in the top job, although they are both from the Labor Party’s left faction
The premier said he was ‘delighted’ at Ms Allan’s promotion but denied they had discussed any handover to the role of premier.
He also sought to shut down any lingering factional tensions.
‘My judgement is that the best person should get the job,’ Andrews said.
‘JA is just outstanding and it’s fitting that the caucus has elected her unopposed.’
The change was part of a major shake-up after four high-profile resignations from Andrews’ cabinet.
The premier hit out at a reporter who accused him of having ‘no idea what was going on’ as four of his senior cabinet ministers quit on Friday.
‘With the greatest of respect, it is not for me to make announcements by answering your fishing questions,’ Andrews said in response to the reporter’s questions.
The premier said he was ‘delighted’ at Ms Allan’s promotion but denied they had discussed any handover to the role of premier
Deputy Premier James Merlino (left) and Health Minister Martin Foley (right) confirmed they would be stepping down to focus on being fathers and spending more time with their kids
Deputy Premier and education minister James Merlino, health minister Martin Foley, police minister Lisa Neville and sport and tourism minister Martin Pakula all quit last week.
Merlino, from the party’s right wing, was previously touted as a possible successor to Andrews.
But there was also pressure for the role of deputy to go to a woman.
Liberal Party MP James Newbury said the resignations were ‘like rats jumping from a sinking ship’.
The resignations were interpreted as a major blow to Labor’s re-election hopes in the November 26 state election.
Andrews is seeking a third successive four-year term having been premier since December 2014.
Speaker Colin Brooks moved into the cabinet along with two other ALP right-wing MPs, Lizzie Blandthorn and Steve Dimopoulos.
Jacinta Allan, 48, was elected to Parliament in 1999 when, at age 26, she defeated a sitting Liberal MP more than twice her age in the rural city of Bendigo
Sports Minister Martin Pakula (left) and Lisa Neville (right) are also expected to announce they to will both retire from politics in November
Labor’s left wing faction picked Harriet Shing and Sonya Kilkenny to join the cabinet.
Bendigo West MP Maree Edwards was named as the new Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
St Albans MP Natalie Suleyman is the new deputy speaker.