Andrews’ hissy fit gives Allan a chance to show Victoria times have changed

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Only hours after Daniel Andrews’ resignation became official, the first signs of a new dawn in Victoria began to peep over the horizon.

The Labor caucus leaked, and the outgoing premier showed what he could often be privately: petulant, aggressive and volatile.

New premier Jacinta Allan.Credit: Joe Armao

Labor MPs lined up to describe how Andrews marked his final hours as premier with an expletive-laden hissy fit. After years with barely a leak, there was a torrent. Under Andrews, fear would have ensured that never happened.

Amid the vitriol, Victoria hungers for a meaningful signal from the new premier, Jacinta Allan, that a new era has arrived. One where logic overrides ideology; government understands flexibility; and expert advice is embraced, not ridiculed. And perhaps that the steamrolling of the public and party has ceased.

Yes, the Suburban Rail Loop and the new SEC are absurdly expensive follies that need to be reviewed, adjusted or dumped. Both were plucked from nowhere to help win elections. Both will help keep Victoria in the financial rust bucket with very little rationale and even fewer sensible projections.

Daniel Andrews as he entered the fiery meeting of the Labor caucus to elect the new premier on Wednesday.Credit: Jason South

But they’re too complicated to deal with immediately. Those decisions need forensic examination. This time, somebody must sit down and count numbers. It’s clear they don’t add up, but work is needed to prove it and assess the consequences of cancellation.

Victoria needs a reset, and quickly. We need a message from the new premier that defines the age of Allan.

So here’s the three-point plan for week one. It won’t save much money, won’t cost much money, and won’t restore financial reality. But it will send a message.

First, keep Paul Charles Denyer in jail.

Denyer is the Frankston serial killer. Over 42 days in 1993 he terrorised the state, took three lives and ruined dozens more. Remember these names: Elizabeth Stevens, Debbie Fream and Natalie Russell.

These three young women were taken off the street at random and butchered. Denyer has shown no remorse, but through some legal absurdity is entitled now to bail.

The government can pass a law to keep him jailed indefinitely. They’ve done it before.

The only reason it has not happened with Denyer is that Daniel Andrews did not want to be seen to accept the logic of his political enemies. That decision further brutalised still grieving families.

The new premier can keep Denyer in jail with one piece of legislation. There’s no need for an inquiry. Allan can simply do the right thing and send a powerful message.

Second, postpone the new laws on public drunkenness.

These were never properly considered. They were an ideological hiccup from the left in the party supported by some health officials, but nobody who understood law and order.

Under the new rules, police say, many drunks will be left on the street to fend for themselves.

This has disaster written all over it. Somebody, drunk out of their mind, will lurch in front of a car and die or bash an innocent passerby.

The laws are only weeks away from being implemented. Allan should announce a delay while they are properly considered by people who understand the real world. A way can be found to decriminalise public drunkenness but still protect the drunks and the public.

That’s symbolic step two. Third is juvenile crime.

Figures released on Thursday show serious crimes by children aged 10 to 13 increased 38 per cent on pre-pandemic levels.

That is both staggering and terrifying, but no surprise. The news reports show it nightly.

Kids barely out of car seats are in the middle of aggravated burglaries. They are stealing cars and trying to outrun police at high speed.

The recidivism rate is horrendous and there’s no simple answer. But the government has announced the age of criminal responsibility will soon increase from 10 to 12, then to 14 by 2027.

There may be good reason for the change, and it does not leave the kiddy crooks without accountability. But in the middle of this crime wave, with police strongly against it, now is not the time.

The three-point plan is more about perception than a policy swerve. But perceptions are crucial in politics, and Victoria needs a burst of positivity.

The changes are logical and send a message that common sense is overriding arrogance.

They would demonstrate a flexibility not seen for nine years. They would show a willingness to recognise mistakes and fix them rather than tough it out with bluster and spin.

Premier Allan, embrace the three-point plan, then move to the more complex reviews.

And here’s one last suggestion. If Allan follows any of this advice, she must turn off her phone for 24 hours or risk getting a repeat of the Andrews’ caucus meltdown.

She should do it, and show Victoria the dark days of Dan are gone. Then we can get on with our lives.

Neil Mitchell broadcasts 8.30am weekdays on 3AW.

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