(Bloomberg) -- Daniel Andrews has resigned as the premier of Australia’s state of Victoria, home to the city of Melbourne, citing burnout and an awareness that it was time to move on.
“Thoughts of what life will be like after this job have started to creep in. I have always known that the moment that happens, it is time to go and to give this privilege, this amazing responsibility, to someone else,” Andrews said Tuesday. “It will be up to others to judge my time in parliament and my years of leadership.”
The premier, 51, has been a polarizing figure in recent years, particularly after presiding over one of the world’s longest pandemic lockdowns in Melbourne. Andrews was again making headlines in July this year when he unexpectedly canceled the state’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games due to a cost blowout.
Andrews, who took over Victoria’s center-left Labor Party at age 38 and has served as state premier since 2014, won a third election last November. While he’s regarded as a canny political operator, he has been aided by an opposition that’s struggled to connect with the electorate.
“There’s an old saying in politics: go when they’re asking you to stay,” Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.
Melbourne endured six separate stay-at-home mandates over 18 months during the pandemic, as authorities adhered to some of the country’s strictest Covid rules. While Andrews faced widespread media criticism for the closures, his rating remained high as voters credited him with keeping them safe.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, a fellow member of the Labor party, praised Andrews’ performance during the pandemic.
“Dan’s leadership was tested by some of the toughest times,” Albanese said in a statement following the resignation. “In the relentless pressure of a once-in-a-generation pandemic, Dan never shirked the hard decisions. He fronted up, he stood up and he did everything in his power to keep Victorians safe.”
Victorian government lawmakers will meet on Wednesday at midday to vote for a successor. Deputy premier Jacinta Allan is widely tipped to become the state’s next premier, according to Melbourne’s The Age newspaper.
Andrews’ decision to terminate Victoria hosting the Commonwealth Games highlighted the conundrum provincial governments face in Australia, as commitments to ambitious infrastructure programs become harder to meet with revenues set to fall and bond yields the highest in 10 years.
The premier is leaving at a time when Victoria’s debt burden is a whopping 198.1% of revenues, according to a Moody’s report in July.
“In terms of what I would do next, I’ll have a bit of time off,” Andrews said, adding that he has a pile of unread books that need attending to. “I’ll do a few things that are about me, and am going to go through what would probably be a fairly challenging adjustment.”
--With assistance from Amy Bainbridge and Sharon Klyne.
(Updates with more detail throughout)
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.
BNN Bloomberg Picks
EXPLAINER: First Quantum, the Canadian miner at the heart of mining protests in Panama
Charlie Munger, who helped Buffett build Berkshire, dies at 99
Approach art investing as you would stocks and bonds: expert
Declining prices shift Canadian views of homes as investments
How will the Canada 'mortgage charter' impact homeowners, bank earnings?
Here are the key takeaways from Canada's budget update