Allan eyes Victorian deputy premier role

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Premier Daniel Andrews has laid the foundation for Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan to one day become his successor, endorsing her as the next deputy premier.

Victorian Labor’s senior leadership will recommend in a meeting on Saturday that caucus elect Ms Allan as the state party’s second in command.

She would replace outgoing deputy premier James Merlino, who on Friday announced his intention to retire at the November state election.

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Long-standing Labor convention usually dictates the Socialist Left and Right factions install one of their own as either the premier or deputy premier.

Both Mr Andrews and Ms Allen are members of the former, and bucking the trend would give the left faction the two most senior posts within government.

Treasurer Tim Pallas said he would lobby his colleagues from the Right to put factional politics aside and support Ms Allan.

“I am a very strong supporter of Jacinta Allan to be the deputy premier,” he said.

“She’s a passionate advocate in the parliament for her community. She will be a great demonstration, I would think, of this government’s renewal but also its commitment.”

Mr Andrews was keen to point out there had been flexibility in the arrangement in the past, referring to former deputy premier John Thwaites, and his successor Rob Hulls.

“Let’s not get into these sorts of games,” he said.

“I’m very confident … that caucus will make the right decision.”

The promotion would move Ms Allan closer to becoming Victoria’s first female premier in 30 years, after Joan Kirner’s government lost the 1992 election.

Mr Andrews insists he has the energy for another four years if re-elected in November, despite nearly becoming paralysed in a serious fall last year.

“I didn’t get well to get out. I got well to get back and do the work, finish what we’ve started,” he added.

While noting the final call rests with caucus, Ms Allan said she was humbled to garner the support of her senior colleagues.

“I particularly thank the premier for his support … to take on the reins from an outstanding deputy premier in James Merlino,” she said.

Five new ministers will also be chosen during the meeting.

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