Dan and Dom: the two premiers leading a vibe shift in Australian politics | Australian politics

Victoria and New South Wales premiers, Daniel Andrews and Dominic Perrottet, couldn’t be more different: one is progressive from Labor’s socialist left faction, and the other a conservative from the Liberal party’s right.

But together, they represent a political vibe shift – a sense that long-term ambitions for their states can be achieved, with cooperation paramount.

Both men are intelligent politicians. The duo sensed the public’s fatigue with the hyper-partisan politics of the pandemic early on and worked together to ease Covid restrictions progressively. They have since gone on to push for ambitious reforms to health funding, tax, and education in their states.

So far, they have been successful.

At Anthony Albanese’s first national cabinet meeting on Friday, the prime minister heeded their calls to increase its share of hospital funding until the end of the year. Perrottet described the meeting as “refreshingly collaborative”.

A day earlier, Andrews and Perrottet’s joint statement of intention to introduce a year of universal preschool within the decade was also well received, including by their oppositions.

Dr. Geoffrey Robinson, a senior politics lecturer at Deakin University, thinks there’s a new dynamic at play. He says the recent federal election was an emphatic rejection of former prime minister Scott Morrison and his leadership style.

“The cooperative, nonpartisan aspect [of the Andrews-Perrottet relationship] plays very well with voters who – at the federal election – supported independents largely because they rejected that sort of hyper-partisan style that the Morrison government pursued,” Robinson said.

Australian politics

During a post-election speech at the National Press Club this week, Labor’s national secretary, Paul Erickson, the architect of Albanese’s victory, echoed the sentiment.

Erickson credits Albanese’s offer of a “better future” in contrast with “three more years of Scott Morrison” as the argument that secured the victory.

He said voters were left alienated by Morrison and the Coalition, who showed “hubris and mindless partisanship” when they attacked Labor governments in Queensland, Victoria, and Western Australia.

The differences between Andrews and Perrottet are part of their success. Their partnership blunts any political attacks at the state and f, federal levels, allowing them more bargaining power.

Albanese is forced to listen when the leaders of the two most populous states come together. And, in the spirit of consensus, so far, he has.

Robinson said the partnership also provides a new opportunity for two old governments. Andrews is seeking a third term, while the Coalition in NSW is seeking a fourth.

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“We’ve got two state governments, both of which are probably sort of showing their age and have got to that stage where problems are starting to accumulate,” Robinson says.

“So it’s good for them to demonstrate a collaborative, proactive approach to addressing the problems.”

A senior Victorian Labor source says they know the challenges of securing another term. They say the federal and South Australian elections had proved incumbent governments could not rest on their records.

“[Steven] Marshall went to the election without a plan for the future; he said, ‘vote for me because I got you through the pandemic’. Morrison promised more of the same,” the source says.

“You need big ideas, a plan for a future, a reform agenda that makes voters want to put their faith in you. Daniel and Dom are similar because they have big ideas; they want to improve their states.”

They also note Perrottet’s willingness to work with Andrews as proof the Victorian premier “isn’t as polarising as the state Liberals think”.

In an interview with Guardian Australia, Andrews revealed he first reached out to Perrottet in October last year when the then NSW treasurer replaced Gladys Berejiklian as premier at the urging of former prime minister Paul Keating.

“After [Perrottet] became premier, Paul rang me and said, ‘oh, you should reach out; he is serious about doing some things’, and I said, ‘OK, no worries’, so of course I did, and it went well,” Andrews said.

“We don’t necessarily agree on everything, but we get along well in that he’s focused on outcomes and trying to leave the place better than he found it, and there’s no shortage of challenges to tackle.”

Voters will be watching to see what they tackle together next.

Bella E. McMahon
I am a freelance writer who started blogging in college. I am fascinated by human nature, politics, culture, technology, and pop culture. In addition to my writing, I enjoy exploring new places, trying out new things, and engaging in conversations with new people. Some of my favorite hobbies are reading, playing music, making crafts, writing, traveling, and spending time with my family.