Dan Andrews has gone, but will his successor be better for shooters? 

Why Andrews was a negative for shooters

Andrews was the face of COVID lockdowns, and other measures that polarised much of the southern population – but he kept getting re-elected, arguably because of what can only be described as an inept opposition.

In other words, he was beatable, but voters simply didn’t see the coalition as a viable option.

That could be seen in last year’s Victorian State Election, where Labor’s vote went down but it was picked up by other minor parties rather than the coalition.

What his government did to shooters

IF WE WERE TO simply focus on shooting, then on the negative side, we can say his government:

  1. gave Victorian shooters Lisa Neville as the police minister, who had no respect for shooters and was always looking for ways to restrict what we do;
  2. oversaw the politically motivated closure of gun shops during COVID;
  3. gave us the recent parliamentary report recommending an end to duck hunting;
  4. gave us even more restrictions in the form of new gun safe requirements and the risk of firearm prohibition orders being slapped on shooters for the most trivial of matters
  5.  axed funding for range upgrades as part of broader measures to try and reign in state debt; and
  6. cancelled the 2026 Commonwealth Games of which shooting was an important component

On the positive side, all we can really say is that his government hasn’t followed Western Australia down the same path on gun laws.

.. but does Andrew’s departure really matter?

The reality is that while Premiers clearly have strong influence over their parties, they don’t control everything about them. 

Victoria’s Labor Party’s leadership will have already mapped its pathway to victory at the 2026 election – including considering whether shooters would benefit or suffer on the way. 

In other words, the removal of a Premier is unlikely to mean too much for us by itself.

From checkout to Premier

The new premier is Jacinta Allan (right) who started her ascent from working at the Coles checkout before immersing herself in the world of politics.

Overall, we think her elevation might be some slight positives for shooters, but this comes with no guarantees.

That’s because on one hand, Allan’s seat of Bendigo East is in regional Victoria where there are plenty of shooters, clubs and gun shops in the area. 

However on the other, her allegiance will be to the party that got her in the top job, not to her electorate.   Plus the demographics of Bendigo East have changed in ways that start to resemble what we’re seeing in Melbourne.

We’ve seen politicians sell out on their constituents before, and can never discount that from happening again – but on paper, Allan seems a better bet than most.

Doing the numbers

Labor picked up Bendigo East in 1999, and which is now regarded as safe Labor.

However it’s not impenetrable, with Labor’s primary vote dipping to 53% in 2010 before rebounding.

In other words, the new Premier knows she cannot take the seat for granted – which is why it’ll be important that shooters reminder her of this going forward.

… but has she been handed a poisoned chalice?

One of the problems Allan has is whether she has inherited the top job of a party that is on the nose of the electorate even though it won the last election.

If the Coalition can get it’s act together, that will give Allan three years to excel at the top job, or wear the dubious honour of losing government.

Add to that the fact Allan had portfolio responsibility for the now overly expensive building of new transport infrastructure and the now abandoned Commonwealth Games, and you’ll see why some insiders reckon say that she is putting her political career on the line. 

The deputy

The Member for Niddrie, Ben Carroll, is the new deputy Premier. Carroll is from Labor’s right. 

Carroll previously chaired the Firearms Consultative Committee in Victoria, however his persistent absences eventually resulted in him handing the baton over to one of his colleagues.   

The new Victorian Police Minister

There is no news on whether the current police minister, Anthony Carbines, will keep his job or be moved around. 

Carbines has been quiet and relatively inoffensive after succeeding Lisa Neville.   

While he is no friend of ours, at least he’s not doing us damage either.

Why duck hunting takes on new importance

We regard the Victorian Labor machine as being pretty smart – certainly it’s more effective than it’s coalition counterparty. 

Historically Victorian Labor has been good at ‘doing it’s numbers’ and not done too much to upset shooters.

Whether that remains the case will be seen in how the government responds to the duck hunting report recently handed down.

The problem we see is that the shooting community in Victoria has lost much of the political momentum it had ten or twenty years ago.

However unions in Victoria recently made an issue of duck hunting by threatening to walk off the job if a ban goes ahead.

We’re hoping the new Premier will realise that banning duck hunting would not only cost what could become crucial votes including in her own electorate, but it would create deeper divisions within the party she now leads.

In some ways we’re extremely lucky that the unions have come to our rescue, because without them, the future of duck hunting would be more exposed. 

It’s help we must not take for granted.  We may not be as lucky next time, which is why we have to build the political following shooters need to have.

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