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Daniel Andrews

Australian politician, Premier of Victoria

Daniel Michael Andrews (born 6 July 1972) is an Australian politician and the current premier of Victoria, a post he has held since 2014. He has been the state leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) since 2010, and from 2010 to 2014 was Leader of the Opposition. Andrews has represented the Legislative Assembly seat of Mulgrave since the 2002 election, and served as a parliamentary secretary and minister in the Bracks and Brumby governments.[1][2] He led the ALP to victory at the 2014 state election, defeating the incumbent Coalition government,[3] and won re-election at the 2018 election with an increased majority.[4]

Early life

Andrews was born in Williamstown, a southwestern suburb of Melbourne, to Bob (1950–2016) and Jan Andrews (born 1944). In 1983, his family moved from Glenroy to Wangaratta in northeastern Victoria, where he was educated at the Marist Brothers' Galen Catholic College.[1] Andrews moved back to Melbourne in 1990 to attend Monash University, where he was a resident of Mannix College and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in politics and classics in 1996. After graduating, Andrews became an electorate officer for federal Labor MP Alan Griffin. He worked at the party's head office from 1999 to 2002, initially as an organiser, and then as assistant state secretary.[2]

Political career

Bracks Government (2002–2007)

Following his election to parliament in the Legislative Assembly seat of Mulgrave at the 2002 election, Andrews was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Health in the Steve Bracks Labor government. Following the 2006 election, Andrews was appointed to the Cabinet, becoming Minister for Gaming, Minister for Consumer Affairs and Minister Assisting the Premier on Multicultural Affairs.

Brumby Government (2007–2010)

Andrews at the Kew Festival in 2009

In 2007, Andrews became Minister for Health in the John Brumby Labor government.[5] In 2008, Andrews voted in favour of abortion law reform in Victoria.[6] As Health Minister during the passing of the Abortion Law Reform Act 2008, Andrews sought counsel from senior church clergy who advised him that the act was contrary to Church teaching. Andrews replied that he "... did not intend to be a Catholic health minister. It was my intention to be a Victorian health minister".[1]

Opposition (2010–2014)

Brumby resigned as leader of the Victorian Labor Party following the Labor defeat at the 2010 election, after 11 years of Labor governments. On 3 December 2010, Andrews was elected Victorian Labor Party leader, becoming Leader of the Opposition in Victoria, with former Deputy Premier Rob Hulls staying on as his deputy.[7] Hulls resigned in early 2012 and was replaced as deputy by James Merlino.

Labor took the lead in the polls in mid-2012 and held it for all but a few months until the election, though Andrews consistently trailed his Liberal counterparts, Ted Baillieu (2010–2013) and Denis Napthine (2013–2014) as preferred premier.

Premier of Victoria (2014–present)

2014 election

Labor held 43 seats at dissolution but notionally held 40 after the redistribution of electoral boundaries. It thus needed a swing to win five seats to form government. At the election, Labor gained seven seats for a total of 47, a majority of two.[8] The election was the first time since 1955 that an incumbent government was removed from office after a single term.

In his victory speech, Andrews declared, "The people of Victoria have today given to us the greatest of gifts, entrusted to us the greatest of responsibilities and bestowed upon us the greatest of honours. We will not let them down!"[9] He was sworn in as premier on 4 December.

First term

Andrews speaking at the launch of Melbourne International Games Week 2015

On winning office, Andrews government cancelled the East West Link project and initiated the level crossing removal project and the Melbourne Metro Rail Project.

On 24 May 2016 Andrews made an official apology in parliament for gay men in Victoria punished during the time homosexuality was a crime in the state. It was decriminalised in 1981.[10]

In August 2018 Andrews announced plans to build a $50 billion suburban rail loop connecting all major rail lines via Melbourne Airport.[11]

Ending ambulance dispute

Shortly after his taking office in 2014 Daniel Andrews ended the state government's dispute with ambulance paramedics.[12] The dispute that had started with the previous state government did not go as far as strikes, due to the death toll that would result in such action. So the visible manifestation of the dispute was the protest style "colourful slogans"[12] on the side and back windows of the state's ambulances, which were removed after Andrews promised to end the dispute.

China

Upon his election, Andrews fast-tracked Victoria's ties with the PRC. Firstly, he led a group of prominent Victorians to China on his first overseas trip, and promised to send his entire cabinet there during his first term. Eyeing the enormous opportunities with tourism, education and investment,[13] his government signed a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Chinese government under the Belt and Road Initiative in October 2018, but kept its details secret until he released it five weeks later.[14] The MoU involves cooperation on facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, finance, people-to-people bond[s], and the "Digital Silkroad". Cooperation will be in the form of "dialogue, joint research, pilot programs, knowledge sharing and capacity building". Andrews said that the MoU "does not bind Victoria to be involved in any specific project or initiative" and "the government will consider both the Victorian and national interest before agreeing to be involved in any specific activity".[14]

Port of Melbourne lease

In September 2016, the Andrews Government privatised the Port of Melbourne for a term of 50 years in return for more than $9.7 billion.[15]

Misuse of electoral officers

In September 2015, the Opposition announced that it would refer the Andrews government to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC), the police, or a parliamentary enquiry over allegations that the Labor Party had misused taxpayer-funded electoral officers for party political campaigning in the leadup to the 2014 state election.[16] After an eight-month investigation, Victoria Police said no criminal offence had been committed.[17] The Legislative Council referred the matter to the Victorian Ombudsman, after the Supreme Court confirmed it was within her jurisdiction, and the government lost several appeals against the referral.[18]

In March 2018, the Ombudsman released a report stating that Victorian Labor had wrongly used $387,842 of staff budget entitlements during the election campaign, breaching guidelines for the use of electoral staff.[19] The report identified 21 MPs (11 current MPs including six ministers) who had used the scheme, which had been devised by former Treasurer John Lenders. Andrews stated he was sorry the incidents had occurred, and that Labor had repaid the money.[18] The investigation was reopened in July.[20][21][22][23]

Euthanasia

On 20 September 2017, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 was introduced into the Legislative Assembly of the Victorian Parliament by the Andrews Labor Government. The bill is modelled on the recommendations of an expert panel chaired by former Australian Medical Association president Professor Brian Owler. The proposed legislation was said by proponents to be the most conservative in the world and contain 68 safeguards including measures designed to protect vulnerable people from coercion and abuse, as well as a board to review each case.[24] Labor and Coalition MPs were allowed a conscience vote on the Bill.[25][26] The bill was debated in the lower house over three sitting days, passing the Assembly without amendment on 20 October 2017 after an emotional and tense debate[27] which lasted more than 24 hours.[28] The bill was passed by 47 votes to 37.[29] The Bill finally passed through parliament, with amendments made in the Victorian Legislative Council, on 29 November 2017.[30] In passing the bill, Victoria became the first state to legislate for voluntary assisted dying. The law received royal assent on 5 December 2017, and came into effect on 19 June 2019[30][31]

2018 election

At the November 2018 state election, Labor won a comprehensive victory, picking up an eight-seat swing for a total of 55 seats, tying Labor's second-best seat count in Victoria. The party recorded substantial swings in Melbourne's eastern suburbs.[32] As the ABC's election analyst Antony Green put it, eastern Melbourne was swept up in a "band of red".[33] Labor also took a number of seats in areas considered Liberal heartland, including Baillieu's former seat of Hawthorn. It is only the fifth time that a Labor government has been reelected in Victoria. Andrews thus joined John Cain Jr and Steve Bracks as the only Victorian Labor leaders to lead the party to a second term in government.

Second term

In 2019, an independent tribunal granted Andrews an 11.8% salary increase, giving him a total salary of $441,000 and making him the highest-paid state premier in the country.[34]

Andrews received praise for his leadership during the 2019–20 Victorian bushfires.[35][36]

Andrews is one of the few state politicians in Australia to have never spent a day on the backbench. He has spent his entire tenure in the Legislative Assembly as a junior minister (2002–2006), minister (2006–2010), opposition leader (2010–2014) and premier (2014–present).

Since the retirement of Tasmanian premier Will Hodgman in January 2020, Andrews has been the longest-serving incumbent state premier in Australia.

COVID-19 pandemic

During this second term, Andrews led the State's response to the COVID-19 pandemic which drew early praise, and then criticism due to a second outbreak of the virus.[37][38][39][40]

In April 2020, 77% approved of Andrews' handling of the coronavirus pandemic; this was the third highest figure out of all of Australia's premiers.[41] After seeing a drop in his approval ratings, owing to the acceleration of Victoria's second wave of infections, coupled with harsh restrictions aimed at suppressing the spread of infections, a September 2020 Roy Morgan Research poll showed that 70% approved of the way Andrews was handling his job as Premier of Victoria,[42] with a September 2020 Newspoll showing that 62% agreed that Andrews handled Victoria's COVID-19 response well.[43] In November 2020, a Roy Morgan Research showed that Andrews' approval rating had increased by 12%, with 71% of Victorian electors approving of his handling of his job.[44]

In early August 2020, following a spike in COVID-19 infections in Victoria with up to 750 new infections detected per day, Andrews declared a State of Disaster and announced Stage 4 lockdown rules for 31 metropolitan Melbourne municipalities and Stage 3 rules for regional parts of the state. The Stage 4 rules for Melbourne included compulsory face masks, all but essential businesses closed, residents only being allowed to leave their homes once a day to shop for essential items only, and once a day to exercise for a maximum of one hour. Both these activities were restricted to within five kilometres of home. All schooling was to be done remotely using electronic communication. A nightly curfew from 8pm to 5am was introduced. Exemptions existed for workers deemed essential.[45]

The restrictions were more successful than expected in reducing the rate of infections, such that by mid-September 2020 the 14 day case average was 44.4 rather than 63 predicted by the modelling done when they were introduced. Restrictions began to ease from that time.[46]

On 26 October 2020, Victoria had recorded no new cases and no new deaths, its first day of no cases since early June.[47] The achievement was called "Donut Day".[48]

Personal life

Andrews married Catherine Kesik in 1998 and lives in Mulgrave with their three children. Andrews is a practising Roman Catholic.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Hills, Ben. "The Contender". The Age, 26 June 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  2. ^ a b Daniel Andrews parliamentary profile, parliament.vic.gov.au
  3. ^ "Daniel Andrews rises as Coalition swept from power". The Age Victoria. 30 November 2014. Archived from the original on 8 September 2017. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  4. ^ "Daniel Andrews hails Labor landslide in Victorian election 'bloodbath'". ABC News. 24 November 2018. Archived from the original on 22 May 2019. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  5. ^ Daniel Andrews Labor profile Archived 17 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine, ALPvictoria.com.au
  6. ^ "Life Vote". lifevote.org.au. Archived from the original on 6 March 2011.
  7. ^ Labor's Daniel Andrews endorsed as State Opposition Leader Archived 15 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Herald Sun, 3 December 2010.
  8. ^ "Electorates". ABC News.
  9. ^ Victoria election 2014: Labor takes back government. ABC News, 29 November 2014.
  10. ^ Priess, Benjamin Gay men receive apology more than 30 years after homosexuality decriminalised May 24, 2016 The Age Retrieved 25 May 2016
  11. ^ "Victorian state election: Daniel Andrews floats plan for $50b suburban rail loop". Afr.com. 28 August 2018. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  12. ^ a b "'War' on ambulance paramedics over, declares Victoria's Premier-elect". 1 December 2014. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  13. ^ "Premier makes wrong turn on Belt and Road". The Age. 29 May 2020. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  14. ^ a b Carey, Adam (11 November 2018). "Daniel Andrews releases details of Belt and Road agreement with China". The Age. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  15. ^ "Promise Delivered: Port Of Melbourne Leased To Remove Level Crossings And Create Thousands Of Jobs". 19 September 2016. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  16. ^ "Andrews denies Labor 'rorted' funds during election campaign". ABC News. 2 September 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Fraud squad clears Labor Party of misusing election staff". ABC News. 7 June 2016. Archived from the original on 24 March 2018. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  18. ^ a b "Victorian Labor staff scandal: What you need to know". ABC News. 22 March 2018. Archived from the original on 5 April 2018. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  19. ^ "Victorian Labor misused $388k for election campaign staff: ombudsman". ABC News. 21 March 2018. Archived from the original on 5 April 2018. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  20. ^ "'I'm worried': MPs fear the worst as police reopen red shirts probe". The Age. 27 July 2018. Archived from the original on 22 October 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  21. ^ "Criminal investigation comes at a bad time for Andrews government". The Age. 27 July 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  22. ^ "New Vic rorts-for-votes investigation | SBS News". Sbs.com.au. 29 March 2018. Archived from the original on 28 September 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  23. ^ "Seventeen arrested in Victoria Labor party rorts-for-votes investigation | Labor party". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 18 March 2020. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  24. ^ Edwards, Edwards (19 September 2017). "Victoria's assisted dying bill to hit Parliament, to be voted on by end of year". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 20 September 2017. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  25. ^ "Premier's Department Historic Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill Now In Parliament". premier.vic.gov.au. 20 September 2017. Archived from the original on 20 September 2017. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  26. ^ Johnston, Matt; Hore, Monique (20 September 2017). "Assisted dying Bill before parliament includes safeguards to prevent encouraging euthanasia". Herald Sun. Retrieved 20 September 2017.
  27. ^ Johnsoton, Matt; Alison, Genevieve (20 October 2017). "Voluntary euthanasia laws pass lower house in marathon session". Herald Sun. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  28. ^ "Historic euthanasia laws pass Victoria's lower house after marathon sitting". The Age. 20 October 2017. Archived from the original on 20 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  29. ^ "Euthanasia: Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill passes Victoria's Lower House after 26-hour debate". ABC News. 20 October 2017. Archived from the original on 20 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  30. ^ a b "Euthanasia: Victoria becomes the first Australian state to legalise voluntary assisted dying". ABC News. 29 November 2017. Archived from the original on 10 April 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  31. ^ Kenny, Mark (20 October 2017). "Victoria has just voted to remove its most basic human right: Paul Keating". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 20 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  32. ^ "Victorian election result a Labor landslide with big swings in Melbourne's east". ABC News. 25 November 2018. Archived from the original on 22 May 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  33. ^ ABC Melbourne [@abcmelbourne] (24 November 2018). "Here's this band of red that's swept across the east of Melbourne" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  34. ^ "Daniel Andrews under fire after 'unfair' decision to increase his pay to $441,000 a year". The Guardian Australia. 19 September 2019. Archived from the original on 27 January 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  35. ^ "Andrews has spent years preparing for this crisis. And it shows". The Age. 3 January 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  36. ^ "Daniel Andrews's bushfire response draws praise, but bigger tests may be to come". ABC News. 16 January 2020. Archived from the original on 18 January 2020. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  37. ^ Alcorn, Gay. "Daniel Andrews: Victoria's 'dictator' or just a wildly popular, unstoppable political force ?". The Guardian.
  38. ^ Grattan, Michelle. "Victoria's slow-pace coronavirus lockdown exit puts Daniel Andrews at odds with Scott Morrison". ABC News.
  39. ^ "Scott Morrison doubles down on criticism of Victoria's handling of coronavirus crisis". SBS.
  40. ^ "Victoria records 55 new coronavirus cases and eight deaths as Daniel Andrews defends roadmap". ABC News.
  41. ^ "How Australians feel about the coronavirus crisis and Scott Morrison's response". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  42. ^ "70% of Victorians approve of the way Premier Andrews is handling his job, but 76% say the Victorian Government should compensate small business". Roy Morgan Research. Roy Morgan Research. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  43. ^ "Locked down and living with it: Victoria backs Dan Andrews in Newspoll". The Australian. NewsCorp. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  44. ^ "Victorian ALP (58.5%) streaks ahead of L-NP (41.5%). Premier Daniel Andrews approval jumps 12% to 71%". Roy Morgan Research. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  45. ^ https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/everything-you-need-to-know-about-victorias-lockdown-rules/news-story/e72efc093873f393669b202db6c9fe43
  46. ^ https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-18/victorias-coronavirus-numbers-better-than-modelling-predicted/12673034
  47. ^ https://www.sbs.com.au/news/victoria-records-another-coronavirus-donut-day-after-false-positive-result-rejected
  48. ^ https://www.pedestrian.tv/news/donut-day-coronavirus-victoria-new/

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