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Deputy Prime Minister James Merlino among four senior Victorian ministers is expected to announce retirement

Written by Javed Iqbal

Four of the Victorian government’s most senior ministers will announce their retirement from politics at the next election, forcing a major reconsideration of Labor’s management team.

Deputy Prime Minister James Merlino, Health Minister Martin Foley, Police Minister Lisa Neville and Industry Minister Martin Pakula are expected to announce their intention to step down in the November general election, according to several sources with knowledge of the plans.

Deputy Prime Minister James Merlino is among four senior MPs expected to announce their retirement as early as Friday.

Deputy Prime Minister James Merlino is among four senior MPs expected to announce their retirement as early as Friday. Credit:Joe Armao

It will come as a major blow to the Labor Party, which has already lost several senior ministers over the past three years. Former Secretary of State Gavin Jennings has resigned in 2020, while front-runners Jill Hennessy and Richard Wynne have already announced they will retire in the last election.

Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to announce his retirement tomorrow.

Steve Dimopolous, Paul Edbrooke, Colin Brooks and Lizzie Blandthorn are tipped to replace them in a cabinet reshuffle, according to Labor sources, who were not authorized to speak in public. Vicki Ward and Harriet Shing, both from the left, have also been abandoned as an opportunity to enter the cabinet.

It is still unclear who will replace Merlino as deputy head of Labor. During the Labor faction convention, the deputy comes from a faction other than the premiere. Daniel Andrews is part of the socialist left, while James Merlino was from the right.

Road Minister Ben Carroll, a right-wing MP, has been hailed as a potential replacement. Others say the prime minister could hand-pick Transport Minister Jacinta Allan from the left. The latter, however, would lead to significant setbacks.

More on the way.

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Javed Iqbal

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