Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes, a member of Labor’s Right and the government’s leader in the upper house, has told reporters at Parliament House that she is backing Jacinta Allan, from the Socialist Left, as premier.
“I hope that the leader is Jacinta Allan,” she said, adding she was hopeful she and her colleagues could emerge from their caucus meeting today with a new premier and not have to wait several days for an outcome.
However, Symes would not say who she was backing to become deputy, pointing out she hadn’t heard from all the candidates as yet.
Here was the attorney-general’s response when asked what sort of leadership style Allan would bring to the table:
Strength, determination. It’s a difficult job and I think she’s up for it. She’s been a great support to me over my journey.
Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass was actually on ABC radio this morning talking about a report her office has tabled regarding the state’s controversial electric vehicle charge.
The Ombudsman was, inevitably, asked for her opinion on the outgoing premier.
As just mentioned, Daniel Andrews has previously brushed aside concerns from the former head of another integrity watchdog, the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission, by calling him a private citizen. More recently, he went as far as to suggest integrity chiefs should get elected instead of criticising from the sidelines.
Mornings presenter Raf Epstein wanted to know: Did Andrews talk about Glass and ex-IBAC boss Robert Redlich appropriately?
Here’s what Glass had to say:
Well, I’m not the former. I’m the current Ombudsman as it happens. And I express views, I publish reports.
I’m sure he’ll be delighted that he won’t be asked about any more of my reports.
When Daniel Andrews did his first radio interview for eons with the ABC’s new morning presenter Raf Epstein last week, the conversation inevitably turned to matters of integrity.
Epstein put to the premier criticisms from former anti-corruption commissioner Robert Redlich and current Ombudsman Deborah Glass about Labor’s integrity record, including its tardiness in responding to recommendations for reform.
“They’re not in the cabinet room,” Andrews said. “If you want to get into the cabinet room, well you’ll need to go and get yourself elected.”
The then premier was expressing a growing frustration about the encroachment of high-minded legal figures-turned-integrity chiefs and experts into the business of democratically elected MPs.
He and his inner sanctum see themselves as accountable to Victorian voters who have elected them three times running, not to former judges and others appointed by elected MPs.
As a self-styled “can do” premier famously more concerned with results than process, integrity never seemed a priority issue.
Read the full piece here.
One of the persistent criticisms we’ve heard in the past 20 hours has been how Daniel Andrews centralised power under his premiership.
Former cabinet minister Jaala Pulford was on ABC Radio Melbourne earlier and quizzed about this very topic. In response, she said it would be “fairly lazy” to suggest the outgoing premier was too controlling.
Here’s what else she had to say:
I just don’t buy into that. Ministers are supported in my experience. Obviously, I’ve been gone the best part of a year now. But ministers are supported to do their work and all decisions of government go through very, very rigorous internal decision-making processes, as they should. As the community would expect. Because that’s how you get more things right.
A grouping of Right MPs, known as Labor Unity, will meet at 10.30am to discuss their next steps ahead of today’s caucus meeting.
There is currently a stalemate between Left and Right MPs over the position of deputy premier, with both sides arguing one of their members is entitled to the position.
We’ll keep you updated as soon as we know more.
Take a look back at how Jacinta Allan became Daniel Andrews’ heir apparent here.
A cabinet minister, speaking on the condition of anonymity, has confirmed that Treasurer Tim Pallas has told MPs he intends to run for deputy.
Pallas is a past member of the Right faction, but now sits with the Socialist Left.
Speaking to reporters earlier this morning, the treasurer refused to rule out running for deputy.
Should he win that position, it would continue the recent break from tradition – started under Daniel Andrews and Jacinta Allan – where both the leader and their deputy are from the same faction.
Staying with the prime minister’s interview for a moment, and Anthony Albanese said he was worried that young people might not consider a career in politics because of the way people like Daniel Andrews were treated, particularly when it comes to conspiracy theories.
“It would give, I think, pause for thought,” he told ABC radio. “It drives you nuts.”
Albanese then gave a shoutout to that front page:
I think that a low point in journalism was the publishing of a front page photo … I’m not sure whether it was an interview with the set of stairs in the place that Daniel had a holiday, [where he] had an accident and with real consequences for his health. To have to put up with that sort of nonsense that was going on at that time, I just found quite extraordinary, the level of vitriol.
It’s unfortunate that some people – who should know better – helped to push that sort of activity. It will put off people going into public life.
Here’s a handy recap for those of you who need a refresher on what the PM was referring to:
Now that some of the big players are behind parliament’s closed doors, let’s take a look at what Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had to say on ABC Radio Melbourne earlier.
One of the first questions from Mornings presenter Raf Epstein was: what will people remember about Daniel Andrews?
Here was the PM’s response:
When they are able to drive their car without being stuck at a level crossing, they will be reminded each and every day, on their way to work or on their way to sporting events with their kids on the weekend, of just what a difference that made.
Asked about Victoria’s record debt levels, Albanese had this to say:
You’ve got to build infrastructure. And it doesn’t get cheaper if you delay it.
Treasurer Tim Pallas, one of Victoria’s longest-serving MPs to be in cabinet, has now arrived at state parliament for today’s caucus meeting.
Here was his exchange with reporters near parliament’s back doors:
Journalist: Will you be running for deputy leader?
Pallas: I’m still consulting my colleagues about that. And, of course, it’s important to see who the leader is.
Journalist: You’re not ruling it out?
Pallas: No. I think it’s important that we just wait and see who the leader is.
Jacinta Allan’s path to become Victoria’s next premier is under a cloud after a breakdown in negotiations between Labor’s Left and Right factions.
Following the resignation of Premier Daniel Andrews, state MPs were locked in meetings late on Tuesday and early Wednesday morning to determine the next leader.
Allan has already put her hand up for the role and the Socialist Left faction, which she is a member of, is likely to back her with their majority in the caucus.
This grouping met last night, while the Right’s Labor Unity also held late-night discussions.
Sources involved in the conversations, who could not speak publicly, said early on Tuesday night it had appeared that the Left was willing to accept Right-aligned ministers as deputy premier.
Public transport Ben Carroll was the name floated most often, but Police Minister Anthony Carbines was also in contention.
If either gets up, it would bring the party back to the traditional model where the leader’s deputy comes from an opposing faction – a practice that was broken when Allan assumed the deputy role under Andrews.
In return, a Socialist Left MP would likely be given a senior leadership role in parliament’s upper house.
But senior Labor sources told The Age these discussions broke down later in the evening, as sections of the Left began pushing to hold on to the deputy premier title.
Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas and Mental Health Minister Gabrielle Williams have been floated as possible contenders from this grouping.
A more unlikely option floated was Treasurer Tim Pallas, who is expected to be named as interim leader while the process is underway.
Labor’s Right-aligned factions are now seriously considering nominating a challenger in response to these requests from the Left.
They would have to elect their own candidate, with Carroll and Carbines the most likely contenders.
Doing so would force a ballot in which state MPs and Victorian Labor members have equal weighting, triggering a campaign within the party that could last weeks.
All Labor MPs, except a small group who are still on overseas holidays, are expected to attend parliament for a leadership meeting at noon today.
Nominations for leader would then need to be open for three business days, meaning the Grand Final eve public holiday on Friday could push the process out to early next week.