Victoria Labor caucus endorses Jacinta Allan as Deputy Prime Minister after mass ministerial resignations

The Victorian government has unveiled the frontbench it will lead in the November state election following Friday’s exodus of four senior ministers.

Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan will serve as Deputy Premier, becoming the second female MP in Victorian history.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the caucus had voted unanimously to endorse Ms Allan, who belongs to the same faction of the socialist left.

Colin Brooks, Sonya Kilkenny, Lizzie Blandthorn, Steve Dimopoulos and Harriet Shing have been promoted to cabinet posts in the new cabinet.

On Friday, Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister James Merlino, Health Minister Martin Foley, Police Minister Lisa Neville and Tourism Minister Martin Pakula announced they would not contest the November election , choosing to withdraw from their portfolios.

They joined Planning and Housing Minister Richard Wynne, who announced his resignation last year.

The state Labor Caucus met Saturday morning to vote on replacements for the five ministers, who each held a number of key portfolios.

After testing positive for COVID-19 on Saturday morning, outgoing Ms Neville was not in attendance, saying on social media that it was ‘not how I wish my last days of work had passed’ .

The five new ministers will be sworn in on Monday, Mr Andrews said.

Their specific roles are yet to be confirmed and factional relations are expected ahead of Monday’s official ceremonies.

On Friday, current Ministers Mary-Anne Thomas, Lily D’Ambrosio, Danny Pearson, Ben Carroll and Natalie Hutchins were respectively announced as the new Coordinating Ministers for the Health, Environment, Housing, Employment portfolios and education.

Coordinating Minister positions are hand-picked by the Prime Minister and are usually senior Ministers, while other MPs hold smaller portfolios.

Specific portfolio appointments and the role of deputy prime minister are chosen by the extended caucus.

It was confirmed on Friday that Ms Thomas, who currently holds the agriculture portfolio, will become health minister, while Corrections Minister Natalie Hutchins will take charge of education.

Allan continues his historic ascent

Ms. Allan, 48, will be the second woman since Joan Kirner to hold the post of deputy.

The MP for Bendigo East became the youngest female Victorian MP when she was elected in 1999 aged 25, and the youngest cabinet minister in state history in 2002.

As transport infrastructure minister, she donned a helmet to become one of the faces of the state government’s legacy plans to remove level crossings and boost public transport.

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