Four Victorian frontbenchers resign, cabinet reshuffle imminent

By Anna Macdonald

Friday June 24, 2022

parliament house victoria
James Merlino, Martin Foley, Lisa Neville and Martin Pakula have resigned their positions as frontbenchers in the Victorian state government. (Image: Adobe/FiledIMAGE)

Four ministers have resigned from Victoria’s frontbench, meaning a cabinet reshuffle will occur as an election looms later in the year.

Deputy premier and minister for education and mental health James Merlino has resigned after 20 years in parliament.

Health minister Martin Foley has announced he will not contest his seat of Albert Park.

Minister for police Lisa Neville is battling Crohn’s disease, and has resigned to deal with health concerns.

Sports minister Martin Pakula has also resigned, after 16 years as a member.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has issued a statement on each of the resignations, thanking them all for their respective expertise and contributions as ministers.

The premier added Merlino would stay on as campaign chair, calling him the ‘best deputy any premier could ever wish for’.

Andrews thanked Pakula on his work in bringing events to the state, naming the extension of the F1 contract and Victoria’s hosting of the 2026 Commonwealth Games as specific achievements of Pakula. 

Foley was named as essential by Andrews to the royal commission into Victoria’s mental health system. 

On Neville, the premier called her a ‘tireless champion’ for every portfolio she’s represented, and wished her well in her health battles. 

In a press conference, Andrews went on to say the Labor party would be meeting Saturday morning to discuss the new appointments to the Cabinet, with the new ministry anticipated to be sworn in early next week.

“I’m very sad to have been advised and to announce the farewell of a number of my close friends and colleagues both from the cabinet and they’ve indicated they will not be recontesting at the election in November,” Andrews said.

He continued: “But when the time is right, when you know, then this is the right decision to make in the interests of not just the government, but in the interest of our state.”

The premier said Jacinta Allan would be taking up Merlino’s position of deputy premier. 


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