Notorious pandemic leader Dan Andrews has announced his resignation as Premier of the Australian state of Victoria in a shock announcement.
Andrews, who imposed on his state the longest Covid lockdown in the world, said the decision was related to the challenges of the job.
When it’s time, it’s time. It’s not an easy job as Premier of our state. It requires a 100% from you and your family. That of course is time limited and now is the time to step away. The only way that I know how to do this job is to have it consume me. Every waking moment is about work and that takes a toll.
He said he’d made up his mind over the last couple of days and that he’d determined to “go when they’re asking you to stay”.
The Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, who was said to be a “little shocked” by the decision, said Andrews’s leadership was “tested by some of the toughest times” during the pandemic, but credited him for “never shirking the hard decisions” and doing everything in his power to keep Victorians safe.
Towards the end of last year, Australia’s top actuarial body said the “incredibly high” excess deaths in 2022 – 17% above the pre-pandemic average in the first eight months of the year – which were observed across the country including in Victoria, should be urgently investigated by the Government. Australian mortality has been well above average since autumn 2021.
In November 2021, Andrews introduced a mandatory vaccination law affecting one million Australians, requiring those working in jobs on the state’s authorised worker list, such as professional athletes, mining workers and journalists, to be double vaccinated or quit.
Victoria’s strict vaccine regime made global headlines in early 2022 when it resulted in world tennis number one Novak Djokovic being ignominiously ejected from the country over his vaccination status the day before the Australian Open was set to begin.
Andrews at the time had been uncompromising, saying said the media circus could have been avoided if Djokovic had just got vaccinated against COVID-19.
“It’s very simple, just get vaccinated. And then everyone’s time wouldn’t have to be wasted with this,” he said.
However, despite the highly polarising effect these measures had on his state, Andrews comfortably won the 2022 state election in what later become known as a ‘Danslide’.
It has been suggested that Andrews quit once he became eligible for a tribute statue in his honour. Victorian Premiers are entitled to be memorialised in bronze near Melbourne’s Parliament House once they pass 3,000 days in office – a milestone Andrews reached on February 20th.
Ahead of the 2022 election, Sky News commentator Peta Credlin predicted: “Sometime early next year he ends up winning his little statue out the front of the Premier’s office and then he’ll p*** off and leave it to the woman, Jacinta Allan, which will enable them to effectively rebrand themselves.”
Andrews has been rewarded handsomely for his reign of terror. In recent months he secured a 3.5% pay rise, lifting his salary to $481,190 (£255,031) – up more than $16,000 (£8,480) from 2022. For comparison, the U.K. Prime Minister receives around £160,000.
Andrews will also benefit from a historic pension scheme for MPs elected before 2004, which could see him awarded millions upon retirement.
The tyrant is finally gone. But it’s always disappointing when they go out on a high rather than in disgrace for grievously violating their citizens’ rights. It is, sadly, further confirmation that the struggle to prevent authoritarian politicians imposing brutal restrictions on free societies – and getting away with it, being fêted even – is an uphill one that is far from over.