A jubilant Daniel Andrews pumped his fists and declared ‘vaccines work’ as he celebrated his historic third term victory on Saturday night. 

Mr Andrews, whose party were predicted to win 49 seats and an outright majority, took to the stage with his family at around 11pm at a party in his Mulgrave seat in Melbourne

In a triumphant victory speech, he trumpeted his controversial Covid policies, which included a 263-day lockdown, the world’s longest.

He said: ‘Friends, these last few years have been incredibly challenging. We have had to make some very difficult decisions, some very tough decisions, and Victorian families and businesses right across our state have had a very difficult time.

‘This was a one-in-100 year event. And because of the tough decisions that we made, and … the fact that Victorians stuck together … we went out and got vaccinated. Because vaccines work.

‘As a community we were not, as some would say, divided. We were instead united in our faith in science.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews celebrates during his victory speech at the Labour election party

Mr Andrews arrives with his wife and children to give a victory speech after he won a third term as Victoria's Premier

Mr Andrews arrives with his wife and children to give a victory speech after he won a third term as Victoria’s Premier

Labour party supporters cheer after the ABC had projected a Labour party win in Victoria's election

Labour party supporters cheer after the ABC had projected a Labour party win in Victoria’s election

Labor supporters react at the Labor Party reception in Melbourne as Dan Andrews wins a third term

Labor supporters react at the Labor Party reception in Melbourne as Dan Andrews wins a third term

Labor supporters react at the Labor Party reception in Melbourne on Saturday after Mr Andrews' win

Labor supporters react at the Labor Party reception in Melbourne on Saturday after Mr Andrews’ win

‘That sense of kindness, that sense of connection … has been confirmed today. Friends, hope always defeats hate.’

 He also revealed words that Paul Keating once shared with him. 

‘Reforming giant and Labor icon Paul Keating once said to me, ‘son, leadership is not about doing what is popular, leadership is about doing what is right,” he said.

‘Essentially, he was telling me that leadership is about doing what matters and that’s exactly what the people of this great state have endorsed today.’

About 10.50pm on Saturday, Matthew Guy finally made a concession speech.

‘Post this election that we come together as Victorians know that the best of our state should be ahead of us, not behind us,’ he told the party faithful at Doncaster on Saturday night.

‘There have been some truly tremendous swings to our side of politics in Melbourne’s north and west, swings above 15 per cent approaching 20 per cent in Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs.

‘We’ve got a lot of work to do, we know that. But we also know that our time in the sun will come again.’

Major networks – the ABC, Sky, Seven and Nine – all called the race in favour of Mr Andrews shortly after 8pm.

His government will retain its majority, with ABC election analyst Antony Green calling at least 48 seats for the ALP.

Major networks - the ABC, Sky, Seven and Nine - all called the race in favour of Mr Andrews shortly after 8pm

Major networks – the ABC, Sky, Seven and Nine – all called the race in favour of Mr Andrews shortly after 8pm

ABC election analyst Antony Green forecast Labor will win majority government

ABC election analyst Antony Green forecast Labor will win majority government

The divisive Premier's victory comes despite his hardline Covid policies that saw Melbourne forced into a 263-day lockdown, the longest in the world

The divisive Premier’s victory comes despite his hardline Covid policies that saw Melbourne forced into a 263-day lockdown, the longest in the world

Anthony Albanese sent Daniel Andrews a congratulatory message on Instagram after his election win

Anthony Albanese sent Daniel Andrews a congratulatory message on Instagram after his election win

Labour party supporters cheer as they hear about the Labour party's win in Victoria

Labour party supporters cheer as they hear about the Labour party’s win in Victoria

‘The Andrews government is set to be returned,’ he said.

‘Congratulations @DanielAndrewsMP, what a great win,’ Prime Minister Anthony Albanese tweeted soon after the result became clear. 

The result drew cheers from Labor supporters gathered at the party’s election night party in the premier’s seat of Mulgrave in Melbourne’s southeast. 

The divisive Premier’s victory comes despite his hardline Covid policies that saw Melbourne forced into a 263-day lockdown, the longest in the world.   

The response to Covid was draconian with rubber bullets last year fired at anti-lockdown protesters in Melbourne while a pregnant woman was arrested in her Ballarat home in 2020 for posting a protest message on social media. 

Former Victorian Liberal premier Jeff Kennett, who led the state from 1992 to 1999, said Melbourne’s lockdowns were so bad they stirred memories of communism from migrants who had fled dictatorial regimes – and had left a negative lasting impression overseas. 

The lockdowns are set to leave a costly legacy with the conservative Institute of Public Affairs think tank calculating they cost the state $218billion – or $33,000 for every Victorian. 

Daniel Wild, the IPA’s deputy executive director, said the economic damage was set to linger for many years. 

‘Victoria’s botched Covid response, including the world’s longest lockdown, has left us all with a massive economic hangover,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

‘By implementing the world’s longest lockdown, Victoria’s most productive industries, tradies and small businesses were forced to sit on their hands and, not surprisingly, our economy suffered greatly.’ 

Major networks - the ABC, Sky, Seven and Nine - all called the race in favour of Mr Andrews shortly after 8pm

Major networks – the ABC, Sky, Seven and Nine – all called the race in favour of Mr Andrews shortly after 8pm

The divisive Premier's victory comes despite his hardline Covid policies that saw Melbourne forced into a 263-day lockdown, the longest in the world

The divisive Premier’s victory comes despite his hardline Covid policies that saw Melbourne forced into a 263-day lockdown, the longest in the world

The mood was somber at the Liberal Party reception as the results came in just after 8pm

The mood was somber at the Liberal Party reception as the results came in just after 8pm

Ex state Liberal president Michael Kroger told Sky News: 'On balance they're going to hold government by a majority

Ex state Liberal president Michael Kroger told Sky News: ‘On balance they’re going to hold government by a majority

The lockdowns were costly on the state’s finances with affected businesses last year entitled to up to $8,400 each as compensation.

Victoria’s gross government debt levels are also more than double revenue, with a 189.2 per cent debt-to-revenue ratio forecast for 2022-23.

Budget papers showed public service debt, which includes superannuation liabilities, climbing from $119.4billion in June 2022 to $196.8billion by June 2026.

Net debt – or what a government owes minus its assets – was expected to climb from $101.9billion in June 2022 to $167.5billion by June 2026.

The IPA calculated net debt was likely to climb to $224billion should Labor be re-elected and proceed with its Suburban Rail Loop project, with rising interest rates set to rise five-fold by 2030.

Younger Victorians, in particular, would be repaying this debt for decades to come. 

Mr Andrews’ vaccine mandates infuriated some workers, but were accepted by most of the population – and his government campaigned on promises of free kindergarten and renewable energy.

The Greens also look set to make significant gains at Saturday’s poll. They retained the seats of Brunswick, Melbourne, Prahran, were projected to pick up Northcote and Richmond and were ahead in Pascoe Vale as of 9.30pm, according to the ABC.

Labour party supporters watching the election count telecast in Daniel Andrews seat of Mulgrave

Labour party supporters watching the election count telecast in Daniel Andrews seat of Mulgrave

Mr Andrews' vaccine mandates infuriated some workers, but were accepted by most of the population

Mr Andrews’ vaccine mandates infuriated some workers, but were accepted by most of the population

Labor supporters react at the Labor Party reception in Melbourne on a successful night

Labor supporters react at the Labor Party reception in Melbourne on a successful night

Party faithful watch on a broadcast of election results at the Liberal Party reception in Melbourne

Party faithful watch on a broadcast of election results at the Liberal Party reception in Melbourne

Mr Andrews sent out a hopeful message as polls closed at 6pm on Saturday, telling voters ‘we’ll see you soon’ alongside a grinning photo. 

His confidence was called into question earlier in the night, with Peta Credlin, the former chief of staff to Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott, saying there is ‘no doubt the swing is on’. 

However, that swing – of about three per cent – was no-where near significant enough to sweep his government from office.

Steve Bracks, former Victoria Premier for Labor, told Seven: ‘I can call it, I think it’s impossible for the Liberals to win. I think it’s almost certainly a majority Labor government.’

And ex state Liberal president Michael Kroger told Sky News: ‘On balance they’re going to hold government by a majority. The early figures are uniform across the place, and that’s what’s disappointing.’

‘Now, we are yet to determine whether that’s the majority or minority government. But what we can’t see is a pathway for the Coalition to win enough seats to get into government and Labor will end up with more seats than the Coalition.’

Earlier in the evening, former Strictly Ballroom star Paul Mercurio clinched the seat of Hastings for Labor from the Liberals.

But it was not the only seat to change hands, as former professional tennis player Sam Groth declared victory in the seat of Nepean on the Mornington Peninsula, prying it from Labor early in the count.

‘I certainly wasn’t expecting them to call it this this early in the night, I’m very happy,’ Mr Groth said.

‘I haven’t had the chance to have a beer yet.’

Reacting to the result, a disappointed Georgie Crozier, shadow health minister for the Liberals, described the night as ‘incredibly disappointing’.

‘Judging from these early votes that are coming in, obviously it is not a good result for us. It is incredibly disappointing. That is evident from what we’re seeing. 

‘As others have said, we have to take on board this and learn from it and, you know, get back on that horse and show we are a viable alternative. 

‘We’ve worked hard. We had what I felt was a very strong message but, clearly, the Victorian public haven’t taken that.’

And discussing the Greens surge, former Liberal premier Jeff Kennett said the higher Greens vote in non-Melbourne seats is ‘surprising’ and could cause ‘a very strong result for the government, sadly’.

‘What is surprising, even in these early numbers, is the high Greens vote,’ Kennett added.

‘For them to be getting 15 per cent in seats away from their own area if these figures hold up … those preferences will go to the Labor Party and you might find a very strong result for the government, sadly.’



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