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AustraliaComment: Whoever wins on Saturday, Daniel Andrews can't lose

17:27  15 may  2019
17:27  15 may  2019 Source:   smh.com.au

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Daniel Andrews , Bill Shorten and candidate Libby Coker campaign in Corangamite. Credit:Dominic Lorrimer. The state Labor government is heavily committed, maybe over-committed, to the biggest transport infrastructure build the nation has ever seen but the real estate downturn is nibbling at the

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Comment: Whoever wins on Saturday, Daniel Andrews can't lose© Dominic Lorrimer Daniel Andrews, Bill Shorten and candidate Libby Coker campaign in Corangamite.

It’s getting so a Prime Minister can’t enjoy a game of footy in this town without copping some cheek from Daniel Andrews.

There was Scott Morrison and his entourage, trying to concentrate as the Hawks took on the Cats at the MCG on Easter Monday but being subjected to a background barrage of state government advertising.

The pop-up ads at the game were part of a million-dollar blitz by Andrews, paid for by Victorian taxpayers if you please, attacking "Canberra" and accusing it of short-changing the state’s hospitals for years.

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While Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was keen on Sunday to mollify a re-elected Coalition federal government, the new detente did not last long. If you want to reach Victorian voters these days, you have to go through Daniel Andrews . © Dominic Lorrimer Scott Morrison and federal Liberal candidate

But if Morrison was bothered by the intrusion into his day at the footy, he will just have to get over it, especially if he is returned to office on Saturday.

Because Victoria’s new-ish status as a battleground state, a place where national elections can be won or lost, is here to stay and if you want to reach Victorian voters these days, you have to go through Daniel Andrews.

Comment: Whoever wins on Saturday, Daniel Andrews can't lose© Dominic Lorrimer Scott Morrison and federal Liberal candidate for Indi Steve Martin visit first home owners Andy and Caitlin at their new home in Wangaratta.

Unfortunately for Morrison, Andrews wants his new mate Bill Shorten to win the election.

The state Labor government is heavily committed, maybe over-committed, to the biggest transport infrastructure build the nation has ever seen but the real estate downturn is nibbling at the edges of Victoria’s budget position.

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Andrew Matthews, 38, exploited the bank's 'introducer' scheme, using it to funnel commission money to himself and a friend between 2012 and 2016. If you want to reach Victorian voters these days, you have to go through Daniel Andrews .

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We won’t see what shape the books are in until after the election because the Premier and his Treasurer ,Tim Pallas, have postponed their budget day to give Shorten some clear air, among other reasons, just one of several favours state Labor has done lately for its federal leader.

A free-spending Shorten government promising a new deal on infrastructure funding for Victoria could make a lot of problems go away for Andrews and Pallas, so much so that they’ll produce a different set of forward projections if their budget is presented in the wake of a federal Labor win.

Even so, Andrews has been more feral in his attacks on Morrison and Co than is usual for state premiers.

That, um, interesting advertising campaign, which sparked howls of protest from local Liberals and a complaint to the state’s anti-corruption body, shows the Premier is willing to stick his neck out a bit to help Shorten over the line.

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Victorian Labor Party leader Daniel Andrews and his wife Catherine cast their vote for the Victorian State election in Melbourne, Saturday . They said that a first term government couldn' t lose . We are witnessing history in the making. This is a sensational outcome,' Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne.

Anyone who has closely watched a campaign that has captivated and besmirched its followers in equal measure could name several contenders for Most Lastingly Significant Quote. “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’ t lose any voters.”

But Andrews ain’t risking much.

His two election wins, one by a landslide in an era when big wins are rare, were built on promising and then delivering large transport infrastructure.

It’s now baked-in political orthodoxy for both sides that you win elections in Victoria by building things and a federal government of any stripe can’t build anything in this state without Andrews’ co-operation.

That’s why Morrison was prepared to grit his teeth and pose with the Premier in March for a pre-election promise of $5 billion in federal money for the long-awaited airport rail link.

The Prime Minister did his sums and found that a sprinkle of Andrews’ infrastructure stardust was worth all that lolly. Especially as most of it won't be handed over for years.

Morrison, if re-elected, will keep doing it too, even though the smiles will be strained and there’ll be bickering behind the scenes and sniping on the side.

It is well documented by now that Morrison’s narrow path to election victory runs straight through Victoria.

If he limits his losses in the state, it’s game-on on Saturday night.

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Daniel Andrews is a web developer living in Atlanta, Georgia. I can ’ t wait to see how this changes the conversation about these smart speakers and asks companies to think more about the quality of sound and not just the smarts under the hood.

Daniel Michael Andrews (born 6 July 1972) is an Australian politician who is the 48th Premier of Victoria, a post he has held since 2014. He has been the leader of the Victorian branch of the Labor Party since 2010, and from 2010 to 2014 was Leader of the Opposition in that state.

Drop three or more seats here and he’s well on his way to being turfed.

But if the Prime Minister finds himself still the Prime Minister on Sunday, Victoria will remain hotly contested political real estate because, even if they win the election, the Liberals are unlikely to have a single safe seat to call home in the state they once called the jewel in their crown.

Higgins, that leafy fortress of fond conservative memory, won’t hold by much if it holds at all and the two safest Liberal seats in the state, Kooyong and Goldstein, will probably become marginal.

So a re-elected Morrison, if he wants to stay elected longer than the next Parliamentary term, will need to pay serious attention, and devote serious money, to Victoria.

Likewise, Bill Shorten knows he doesn’t have much of a chance on Saturday if he can’t smash his opponent in this state.

A Labor parliamentary majority built on a bedrock of Victorian gains would give Shorten the chance to build an electoral bastion in a state where its traditionally tricky to wrest seats back once they have been lost.

Rather than striking up a passionate political bromance, Shorten and Andrews have entered more of a marriage-of-convenience with the mutual interests at stake too obvious to be ignored by such a sharp pair of operators.

Not that they’re such an odd couple, in any event.

It’s true they’ve never shown much affection for each other, coming from opposite ends of their party’s left-right factional spectrum, and Shorten and his team were properly pissed off after the 2016 election, complaining the Andrews’ government’s political struggles at the time led to Labor’s national election effort falling flat in Victoria.

But it is hard to find evidence of any personal animosity between the two and they probably have much more in common, including a relentless competitive streak, than they previously realised.

Like Morrison, Shorten has paid for his ticket on Andrews’ infrastructure express with some big-spending infrastructure promises for the state and on Saturday we’ll see whose number comes up.

But whoever wins, Andrews can’t lose.

Noel Towell is state political editor.

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