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. He led the ALP to victory at the 2014 state election, defeating the incumbent Coalition government, and won re-election at the 2018 election with an increased majority.
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. 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.
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)
In 2007, Andrews became Minister for Health in the John Brumby Labor government. In 2008, Andrews voted in favour of abortion law reform in Victoria. 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".
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. 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)
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. 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!" He was sworn in as premier on 4 December.
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.
In August 2018 Andrews announced plans to build a $50 billion suburban rail loop connecting all major rail lines via Melbourne Airport.
Ending ambulance dispute
Shortly after his taking office in 2014 Daniel Andrews ended the state government's dispute with ambulance paramedics. 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" on the side and back windows of the state's ambulances, which were removed after Andrews promised to end the dispute.
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, 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. 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".
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.
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. After an eight-month investigation, Victoria Police said no criminal offence had been committed. 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.
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. 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. The investigation was reopened in July.
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. Labor and Coalition MPs were allowed a conscience vote on the Bill. 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 which lasted more than 24 hours. The bill was passed by 47 votes to 37. The Bill finally passed through parliament, with amendments made in the Victorian Legislative Council, on 29 November 2017. 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
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. As the ABC's election analyst Antony Green put it, eastern Melbourne was swept up in a "band of red". 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.
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.
Andrews received praise for his leadership during the 2019–20 Victorian bushfires.
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.
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.
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. 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, with a September 2020 Newspoll showing that 62% agreed that Andrews handled Victoria's COVID-19 response well. 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.
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.
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.
On 26 October 2020, Victoria had recorded no new cases and no new deaths, its first day of no cases since early June. The achievement was called "Donut Day".
Andrews married Catherine Kesik in 1998 and lives in Mulgrave with their three children. Andrews is a practising Roman Catholic.
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