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Labor MPs urged to cross floor in Andrews no-confidence vote

Politics

Victorian Labor MPs are being urged to cross the floor when the opposition moves a vote of no confidence in Premier Daniel Andrews.

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The Liberals and Nationals will go on the offensive as state parliament resumes on Tuesday, and move the no-confidence motion against Mr Andrews over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Today Labor MPs have to make a very simple decision, a very simple choice,” said opposition leader Michael O’Brien.

“Are they going to vote to protect Daniel Andrews’ job, or are they going to vote to protect Victorians’ jobs?

“You can’t do both.”

O’Brien said it was “quite clear” that privately many Labor MPs were critical of the government.

But Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said it was “absolutely false” that Labor MPs are critical of Andrews.

“We know that without the leadership of the premier we would not have seen the second wave of this coronavirus hit the very low points that it is hitting right now,” she said.

“His leadership is a strong one, it’s one that has seen us through a terrible period.”

Greens leader Samantha Ratnam labelled the motion a stunt, accusing the opposition of “Trump-style politics”.

Fellow Greens MP Ellen Sandell also said she would not support the opposition.

“Certainly, the government has made many mistakes during the pandemic,” Sandell said.

“But we think Victorians right now actually want us to work together to get us through this pandemic, out the other side, and then we can ask all those questions.”

Crossbench MP Fiona Patten, who will not vote on the motion because she is in the upper house, also was critical.

“If we are going to get through this we are going to have to instil trust and we’re seeing that being depleted through conspiracy theorists but also votes of no confidence that have no chance of getting up,” Patten said.

Chris Eccles, Victoria’s most senior bureaucrat, quit on Monday after phone records revealed he spoke to the head of police as the state’s hotel quarantine program was hastily set up on March 27. He had previously said he did not.

Eccles is the second key public official to quit in the wake of an independent inquiry into the botched program, with former health minister Jenny Mikakos resigning last month.

Flaws in the hotel quarantine system are believed to be responsible for the state’s second wave of COVID-19.

“Frankly, this is the government that has presided over the worst failure of public administration in this country’s history,” O’Brien said.

The Opposition only has one chance to move a motion of no confidence in the premier each parliamentary term.

-AAP

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