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Melbourne news: Major shake up for Dan Andrews’ government FOUR senior ministers are set to retire

Huge shock to Dan Andrews government as FOUR senior ministers retire, triggering massive reshuffle

  • Four senior members of Daniel Andrews’ government are retiring
  • James Merlino, Martin Foley, Martin Pakula and Lisa Neville are ready to step down
  • Prime Minister could make an announcement about their future as early as Friday

Four senior members of Daniel Andrews’ Victorian government are reportedly set to announce their retirement from politics in November’s state election, potentially leading to a major cabinet reshuffle.

Deputy Prime Minister James Merlino, Health Secretary Martin Foley, Sports Secretary Martin Pakula and Police Secretary Lisa Neville all plan to announce they will not contest their seats again, according to multiple media reports.

Prime Minister Andrews could make an announcement as early as Friday, but a Victorian government spokesman declined to comment.

Daniel Andrews' Deputy Prime Minister James Merlino will resign from his post, with an announcement expected as early as Friday.

Daniel Andrews’ Deputy Prime Minister James Merlino will resign from his post, with an announcement expected as early as Friday.

All four MPs made ministerial statements during Question Time on Thursday, the last day of the House of Representatives meeting until early August.

Ministers have been dealing with questions about their futures all week, including Messrs Merlino and Foley.

Mr Foley, who took over Jenny Mikakos as health minister after her resignation in September 2020, insisted on Wednesday that he would run in the next election.

On Thursday, Foley made a speech in parliament that appeared to be a farewell to Victorian politics, describing Labor’s successes during their tenure in power.

“We are in a position to be one of the most important areas of the country in public health performance through this global pandemic thanks to the efforts of our nurses, doctors, ambos, allied health professionals and district administrators,” he said.

“That’s because this side of the house has spent every day for the past seven and a half years building that relationship and building that workforce with our healthcare staff.”

He noted that the state is still “in the midst of a global pandemic” and “we have one or two things to do.”

“I look forward to contributing to the re-election of the Andrews Labor government through Albert Park’s seat,” he told reporters.

The Health Minister was the public face of Victoria’s pandemic decision-making, making Melbourne the most closed off city in the world.

Martin Foley, the state's health minister, is tipped to resign after guiding Victoria through the pandemic - and Melbourne's longest lockdown in the world

Martin Foley, the state’s health minister, is tipped to resign after guiding Victoria through the pandemic – and Melbourne’s longest lockdown in the world

Mr Merlino, who helped Victoria navigate the pandemic while the prime minister was away with a serious spinal cord injury, told reporters on Thursday that he would not “feed on the rumors that speculate” about his political future.

“These are individual decisions that people have to make, and I am not going to speculate about my future or the future of my colleagues,” he said outside parliament.

“Governments win or lose based on their track record and what they promise to do, and… I can tell you I have 100 percent energy for the elections.”

On Tuesday, Mr Merlino stopped confirming outright that he would once again contest his Monbulk seat in eastern Melbourne.

“I’m not going to play the rumor game,” he said.

“I am absolutely committed to the re-election of the Andrews administration … and I have a lot of energy for the contest at the end of the year.”

Sports Minister Martin Pakula retires

Sports Minister Martin Pakula (left) and Police Minister Lisa Neville (right) will also resign from their positions

Neville returned to work in August 2021 after taking leave to recover from surgery, while Mr Pakula’s Keysborough seat is being scrapped as part of an election redistribution.

When asked on Tuesday whether he expected to reshuffle his cabinet before the election, Prime Minister Andrews said he had no announcement to make.

“We’ll wait and see how it goes,” he said.

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