News State Victoria News Daniel Andrews faces Parliament for last time before election

Daniel Andrews faces Parliament for last time before election

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Premier Daniel Andrews and Opposition Leader Matthew Guy at the opening of the 58th parliament. Photo: AAP
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Premier Daniel Andrews has faced the 58th parliament for the final time before Victorian voters go to the polls in 64 days.

He became the first premier in a decade to see out four years in the state’s top job on Thursday, the final sitting day of this term.

A backlog of bills were left in the Upper House, but Labor squeezed through its key flammable cladding and online betting reforms.

The former will allow apartment owners to obtain interest-free loans to replace dangerous cladding.

The point of consumption tax for online betting companies will add another $30 million a year to state coffers. It means companies like Sportsbet and CrownBet will be taxed 8 per cent on Victorian losses.

But other key reforms like nurse-to-patient ratios, strict youth offender monitoring, ‘Rory’s Law’ to compensate injured cyclists, unlawful association laws for bikies and the so-called ‘Jalal’s Law’ to protect crash victims were still in limbo at 9.30pm on Thursday.

The government does not control the upper house and prioritised bills that had bipartisan support, passing reform to make prison mandatory for anyone who assaults emergency workers on Wednesday.

More than 200 annual reports were tabled in Parliament on the last sitting day, in what the opposition described as part of the “secret state”.

Liberals Margaret Fitzherbert and Georgie Crozier were pictured posing with a stack of the documents.

Labor entered the last week of parliament with a six-point lead over the opposition on a two-party preferred basis, according to the YouGov Galaxy poll commissioned by Bus Association Victoria.

“We have got things done,” Mr Andrews told reporters on Thursday.

“We have a lot more work to do though. We have more infrastructure to build, more services to grow and support, more jobs to create.

“We’ll be focused on laying out that positive and optimistic plan over the next 65 days or so and doing our job, which is to give Victorians a real, clear choice.”

His term saw historic reforms through on voluntary assisted dying and the safe injecting room trial.

Labor’s 2014 election promise to remove level crossings is also under way and Metro Tunnel works have begun.

The government is leasing a Melbourne port for $9.7 billion, and Labor kicked off the treaty process with Aboriginal Victorians and is credited with making the most progress in the country.

But Labor has also been dogged by the so-called ‘red shirts’ rort, with 21 MPs under police investigation.

The scandal has remained in the headlines, with the ombudsman on Wednesday revealing the investigation cost her office $879,000.

That takes the total taxpayer expense to $1.3 million – on top of legal fees previously revealed – to investigate Labor’s misuse of parliamentary allowances in the lead up to the 2014 election.

The party has repaid the $388,000 to parliament.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy was happy to point out some of the government’s scandals in a rowdy final question time for 2018.

“You lost your speaker and deputy speaker for rorting the second residence allowance. Your deputy president went for rorting his printing allowance. Your TAFE minister resigned for chauffeuring his dogs in his ministerial limo. Your emergency services minister was bullied out for daring to stand up to you. Your small business minister was dispatched in a factional hit,” Mr Guy told the premier.

“A fish rots from the head. Will you finally accept responsibility for the sordid, corrupt mess of a government that you lead?”

The mention of fish was all Mr Andrews needed to hit back at Mr Guy for his own scandal – a lobster dinner with an alleged mafia boss.

“I’ve gotta say, pretty gutsy talking about seafood I would have thought,” Mr Andrews lashed back across the chamber.

“Where does a lobster rot from, I wonder? And even surely a rotting lobster would taste OK if you washed it down with Grange,” the premier added in a nod to the wine reportedly consumed during Mr Guy’s controversial dinner.

The opposition have used a perception of lawlessness to wedge Labor before the November 24 election.

The Victorian Crime Statistics Agency (CSA) on Thursday released figures showing the overall crime rate fell 7 per cent per 100,000 Victorians to 5921.9, the lowest since 2014-15.

There were 5.6 per cent fewer criminal incidents over the past 12 months.

Mr Andrews said it was “another positive trend”.

“We won’t rest on that though. We want to keep going, keep fighting to make the community safer.”

There were about 1500 more sexual offences in the year, which the CSA was largely attributed to improved reporting rates.

Mr Guy said it showed violence crime was on the rise.

-with AAP

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