Victoria Premier Dan Andrews has insisted he has no plans to step down during his next term if Labor is re-elected in November.
Andrews, who has been in the top job for nearly eight years, is favoured to win the November 26 election.
Pressed on his political future, he told journalists he was “absolutely” committed to serving out another four years.
“We’ve got a lot of things to do,” he said.
“I’ve got lots of stuff to build, lots of reform to make, there’s a lot of things to get on with. I want to keep building, I want to keep making big change and reform.”
But critics are suggesting the Andrews government may getting ahead of itself as the Premier is coming up against fresh challenges, even in his own seat of Mulgrave.
One man who threatens to unseat Andrews on his home turf is former catering boss Ian Cook and his campaign is gaining momentum by the day.
Cook was at the centre of the ‘slug-gate’ scandal which led to the controversial closure of his family-owned catering business.
The campaign, dubbed by his supporters as “Cook versus Crook”, has been boosted by strong support on social media and while many see the likelihood of Andrews losing his own seat come November as a longshot, some commentators have noted that ‘crazier things have happened’ in the world of modern politics.
Andrews is the second only to John Cain as the longest serving Victorian Labor premier. He first won office in November 2014.
“I’m on the ballot in 51 days and it’s my expectation that I’m there for as long as the community and my colleagues want me, to work as hard as I possibly can to get things done, to do what matters,” he said.
Andrews, who took time off last year after fracturing multiple ribs and injuring his back, said he “didn’t come back to head off”.
“I remember getting a lot of phone calls from people… when I was crook, you know, what are you doing,” he said.
“And I came back, and it took some time, I didn’t come back to head off, I came back to keep working hard.”
The latest Newspoll, published in The Australian, has the Andrews Government favourite to win a third election victory.
Labor holds a two-party preferred lead over the Coalition of 56-44. It won the 2018 election with a two-party preferred percentage of 57.3 to 42.7 in its favour.
“This job is a great privilege, I take nothing for granted, I never have,” Andrews said.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said he did not believe Andrews’ commitment to serving a full term.
“No one believes a thing that guys says.”