Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews’ masterstroke makes him fly solo

While they all have plausible reasons for leaving (Merlino candidly said he “had no fuel in the tank for another term”), it won’t be hard for opposition leader Matthew Guy to criticize the government for being a revolving door. While the prime minister is unlikely to worry too much, the coalition is still far behind in the polls, according to The age‘s latest Resolve Political Monitor survey.

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As the nightmares of COVID lockdown fade into the dim, dark past, few have forgotten the pivotal role Andrews played in the government’s response, famously fronting his daily press conference for 120 days immediately after Victoria was incarcerated.

While it gave him tremendous visibility at the time, the risk he faces now is overstated, said Paul Strangio, a professor of politics at Monash University. He may have “worn out his welcome to the public. They will long for life after Andrews.” Call it the Churchill effect: After the war, the British public wanted change, to the extent that they were willing to boot their greatest leader of the 20th century.

It’s unlikely Andrews wants to remind us too much of the COVID years; while many of the calls he made were necessary, there were mistakes as well. But while the days of the daily COVID press conference are over, the government’s prospects depend largely on Andrews’ ability to communicate. And in an election year with barely a handful of familiar faces in the cabinet, what he says and does weighs more than ever.