Deputy Prime Minister James Merlino, among four high-ranking Victorian ministers, is expected to announce his retirement

“It’s an opportunity for the renewal of this administration, and we have a very good crop of ministers in the future, and I’m looking forward to this cabinet rejuvenation,” Wynne told Nine.

“James [Merlino] has been a wonderful friend, a wonderful minister. Truly the work he did in education was extraordinary… he has a wonderful legacy to celebrate.”


Five of the retired ministers were part of the eight-person crisis council created at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the antiquity of experience Labor is likely to lose in November.

Among the seven ministers, the party has lost more than 110 years of parliamentary experience and eight decades of ministerial – and shadow ministerial – experience in the past two years.

Merlino has been deputy labor leader since 2012 and minister of education since 2014.

Foley was appointed Minister of Health in late 2020 following the forced resignation of Jenny Mikakos due to the failure of the hotel’s quarantine program that led to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Neville took a long leave of absence last year after revealing he was battling Crohn’s disease. Although Pakula’s lower house seat in Keysborough had been abolished in the last reshuffle of electoral boundaries, he was expected to move to the upper house.

The ministers are expected to remain in the cabinet until the November election, but the prime minister could announce his replacements as early as next month.

During question time in parliament on Thursday, Foley, Neville, Pakula and Merlino gave ministerial statements that were described by Labor sources as “sounding like farewell speeches”.

“We are in a position to be one of the main areas of public health achievement in the country through this global pandemic through the efforts of our nurses, physicians, both allied healthcare professionals and ward staff,” said Foley.

“That’s because it’s this side of the house that we’ve spent every day for the last 7 1/2 years building this relationship and building this workforce with our healthcare workforce.”

Neville paid tribute to the Victoria Police, Merlino spoke of the government’s investment in mental health in schools, while Pakula said the “state was buzzing again” after 18 months of pandemic-induced restrictions.

This week, Merlino and Foley said they were both eager to “make a contribution” in the November election.

It remains unclear who will replace Merlino as deputy labor leader. Under the Labor Party’s factional convention, the MP comes from a different faction than the Prime Minister. Andrews is on the socialist left, while Merlino is on the right.

Roads Minister Ben Carroll, a right-wing MP, has been touted as a potential replacement.

Some Labor sources suggested the prime minister could handpick Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan from the left. However, this would lead to a significant backlash.


Labor law is divided over a bitter faction fight after a Was and 60 minutes investigation that revealed the dumped powerbroker Adem Somyurek’s industrial-scale branch stacking operation.

Elements on the right, including the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association and former Senator Stephen Conroy’s faction, signed a stability pact with the Socialist Left earlier this year after the power vacuum left by Somyurek’s departure from the Labor Party. .

Lawmakers from the right-wing faction met throughout Thursday to decide their choice for deputy.

A source from the Right faction said: “The Right is currently a little confused, and that means if Daniel [Andrews] want JA [Jacinta Allan] as your deputy, and we can’t work our things out, then that’s going to happen.”

Andrews has long favored Allan as his successor, but the senior minister who has been in parliament since 1999 does not have the majority support of her colleagues in the Left MP or the wider caucus of 71 Labor MPs.

Many expected Hennessy and Merlino to vie for leadership when Andrews leaves politics, which is widely reported in the wake of the state election.

Labor factions will spend the next week determining their cabinet picks, but Steve Dimopoulos, Colin Brooks and Lizzie Blandthorn are among the favorites on the right.

Sonya Kilkenny, Vicki Ward and Harriet Shing, from left, are being touted as possible replacements for Foley and Wynne.

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