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When the revolving door stops, we may know who the next Victorian premier will be

Written by Javed Iqbal

This does not mean that a prime minister who is expected to deliver a third term of office has no influence. Of course he does. He is popular with the public and keeps a tight rein on disagreements from his MPs.

Beneath the surface, however, Labor is undergoing a huge faction upheaval.

The internal status quo of the party that won the last two elections has changed. Since “Danslide” in 2018, the federal party launched a takeover after a scandal with branch stacking that led to the firing of right-wing faction front benches Adem Somyurek and Marlene Kairouz.

Elements from the right, including Shop, the Distributive and Allied Employees Association and former Senator Stephen Conroy’s faction, signed a stability pact with the socialist left earlier this year following the power vacuum following Somyurek’s exit from the party.

Like all factions, the so-called Stability Pact secured power for some, but left others, such as MPs in line with the Australian Workers’ Union and the National Union of Workers, with diminished internal power.

So the dynamics have changed. And the prime minister will work hard behind the scenes to take advantage of these factional divisions to install his favorite candidate, Allan, to replace Merlino as his deputy.

Daniel Andrews (center) with Martin Pakula (right) and Lisa Neville (second from left) in 2018.

Daniel Andrews (center) with Martin Pakula (right) and Lisa Neville (second from left) in 2018.Credit:Chris Hopkins

The Andrews Cabinet has been a revolving door since the 2014 election. Some have been raised for their own reasons, others were mixed out by the ministry. Some were forced to walk the political plank.

Fourteen of Labour’s 72 upper and lower house MPs – almost 20 per cent of caucus members – had already announced their intention to retire in November before the news of further retirement came.

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Of the premier’s eight-person COVID-19 crisis council, there are likely to be only three left after the election: Andrews, Allan and Pallas.

When the revolving door stops spinning, we will learn a lot about which factions – and which candidates – have taken over in Labour’s succession race.

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Javed Iqbal

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