Daniel Andrews has resigned as Premier of Victoria after making his mind up “in the last few days”.
Mr Andrews, 51, said he’s decided to step down as the leader of the state after “always working hard to do what’s right, not simply to do what’s popular”.
The Victoria Labor leader called a snap press conference on Tuesday afternoon to make the announcement.
He explained it was “time” to hand over the reigns after nine years in the top job.
The 48th premier of Victoria will officially stand down at 5pm on Wednesday.
“(This is) not an easy decision because, as much as we have achieved together, there is so much more to do,” Mr Andrews said.
“But when it’s time, it’s time.
“It’s not an easy job being the premier of this state, that’s not a complaint it’s just a fact.
“To have been premier for nine years and the leader of my party for 13 years is a greater set of opportunities that I ever thought be afforded to me.
“I came from the country with only really an aspiration to do good, to work hard and to work with teams of people that perhaps make things better.
“Can I say to you that the moment you are not comfortable with that choice, doing this job as a defining feature of your entire life pretty much, the moment you are not comfortable with that decision for you and the people that you love, that’s when you have to step away.
“Because you never want to get to a place where you resent this job, this amazing privilege and important opportunity.
“That would not be right and I simply will not allow that to happen. As you well know public life is about subjecting yourself to the judgement of others.
“It will be for others to judge my time in parliament and my years of leadership.”
Mr Andrews said he’s proud to have been involved in building a better housing statement for the state, in a bid to accommodate a Victorian population which is forecast to reach 10.3 million by 2051.
The housing statement promises to build 800,000 homes over the decade to 2034.
“I leave knowing that the housing statement, one of the most profound shake-up in one of the most important policy areas, will guarantee that Victorians across the state have somewhere to call home,” he said.
“After all, what could be more important than that?”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese thanks Mr Andrews for his commitment to Victoria.
“Daniel Andrews has never been anyone who has shirked his responsibilities,” he said.
“He stood up each and every day during the pandemic server for doing what he believed was absolutely right.
“To keep Victorian safe not making easy decisions, making difficult decisions, and Daniel Andrews will be remembered for his contribution to Victoria.
“But of course, his contribution as Daniel Andrews will continue.
“I’m sure that Daniel Andrews will continue to make a contribution in whatever field sees fit in the future.
“I spoke to Daniel this morning, and he informed me of the decision that he has made.
“It has been a real privilege for me to work alongside the Premier of Victoria.”
The two men have shared a close friendship over the years both having had strong ties to the Labor movement.
“We’ve been friends for 25 years and we will remain friends in the future,” Mr Albanese said.
“Well, I can assure you that we will be having one or two beers and Daniel does cook a great steak.
“I look forward to spending time with him and Cath in the future.”
Meanwhile, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also honoured her Victorian counterpart on Tuesday.
“It has been a pleasure to work alongside (Daniel Andrews),” Ms Palaszczuk posted on social media.
“I wish him and his family all the best in the future.”
Mr Andrews said now he plans on focusing on his family and getting back to learning who he is without being a politician.
“In terms of what I would do next, I’ll have a bit of time off and spend some time with Cath and the kids, play bit of golf and read the pile of book that are sitting on the corner that have not been read,” Mr Andrews said.
“I’ll do a few things that are about me and I am going to go through what would be a fairly challenging adjustment.
“I think where I go from every minute of every day being played out for me and spending literally every waking moment thinking about the challenges our state faces.
Mr Andrews thanked his wife Cath and his two sons for their support over the years, even though he was “worse than a workaholic”.
“To my family, to my mother and father, to my sister, I couldn’t ask for more,” he said.
“Cath, she is my best friend and none of this was remotely possible without her support, her guidance and her love. Noah, Grace and Joseph, they know only politics.
“You are everything to me.”
Mr Andrews said he made the decision to resign a few days ago because he didn’t want to start to resent the job of leading Victoria.
“I came to the decision fairly recently,” he said.
“I was very keen to get the housing statement done but I knew as we got to the final stages of that it would perhaps be the last big reform that I did.
“Ultimately once those thoughts of what … what life would be like after this role start to creep in, you’ve got a really important choice to make.
“You either put up with it and ultimately I think potentially resent the job and you never want to do that.
“This is such a great honour and privilege.
“It is such a profound thing, you never want to finish up in a situation where you are not enjoying the work, where you are resentful of the fact that you are doing this and not do something else.
“I am not at that point but I am determined never to get to that point.
“In having made this decision today, it’s not an easy decision but it really important one.”
Mr Andrews will meet with Governor of Victoria Margaret Gardner on Tuesday and formally resign.
The Victoria Labor caucus will elect its new leader about midday on Wednesday.
Mr Andrews leadership will end at 5pm on Wednesday.
He said he’ll support the next leader.
“That is a matter for the caucus,” he said.
“I will just say, I informed the Cabinet at the meeting at 12pm, of the decision and many of them are here.
“It was with some considerable pride I looked across that beautiful roundtable and saw that two-thirds of the members of that room are women.
“That’s not always been the case. That means we are a better government and we have much better policy.
“We have the most progressive and I think the most important women’s health agenda in our country and arguably in the world.
“And I would like to think over time may be more and more women will become aware of that.”
He has been the state leader since 2014 and was at the helm during the controversial pandemic years, were millions of people were lockdown for record months during Covid-19.
The Mulgrave MP was elected in 2002 and had been the leader of the Victorian branch of the Australian Labor Party since 2010 and a member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly for the division of since 2002.
More to come.