Police and the City of Melbourne are expecting thousands to turn out in celebration of Premier Daniel Andrews’ resignation, who will officially leave politics at 5pm today.
An official notification sent to businesses and residents surrounding Melbourne’s Parliament House warned those in the area of a “proposed protest/celebration of Daniel Andrew’s resignation.”
According to the note issued by the City of Melbourne, the event has been organised by a group called World Wide Rally.
“It is expected that approximately 5000 people will attend Parliament House steps from 5pm Wednesday 27 September 2023,” the notification reads.
“Organisers of the event have advised speeches will be held at Parliament House steps from 5.30-6.30pm.
“Victoria Police and City of Melbourne will be monitoring the event. This is not a City of Melbourne organised event.”
News.com.au understands the traffic and the post-work commute could be affected should the rally achieve expected numbers.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman told news.com.au it was aware of the planned gathering and that, “police will have a visible presence to prevent breaches of the peace and ensure the safety of the community.”
Mr Andrews resigned abruptly on Tuesday, declaring his nine years in the top job the greatest “honour and privilege” of his life.
“It’s not an easy job being the premier of our state – that’s not a complaint, that’s just a fact,” he said.
“It requires 100 per cent from you and your family. That is, of course, time limited and now is the time to step away.”
Mr Andrews drew praise for his years in office from the Prime Minister who declared the premier had never “shirked his responsibilities” while lauding his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“He stood up each and every day during the pandemic. He stood up for doing what he believed was absolutely right to keep Victorians safe – not making easy decisions, making difficult decisions,” he said. “And Daniel Andrews will be remembered for his contribution to Victoria.”
Opponents, however, claim Mr Andrews left Victoria “broken”.
On Tuesday, Victorian Opposition Leader John Pesutto stated, “The facts are that Premier Daniel Andrews is standing down today because things have fallen apart.”
“We’ve seen it day after day, one crisis after another,” he added.
“The legacy that Daniel Andrews leaves is a state that is broken. Victorian is broken – we know it, we see the evidence of it every day.”
Former Liberal Premier Jeff Kennett said, “ (Mr Andrews) was so much in control, he didn’t use the traditional media, he used social media, he controlled his party very strongly.”
“But the real test is not where you start, but where you finish and the state in which you leave the community.
“So Daniel’s legacy won’t be determined today or tomorrow it’ll be determined over the next three or four years, or it might even be determined over the next 20 years.”
Mr Andrews oversaw one of the world’s most prolonged and most frequent Covid-19 lockdowns – six lockdowns totalling 262 days – for which he received both praise and fierce protest.
In September 2021, mass rejection of the measures hit boiling point when thousands of protesters marched across Melbourne – paralysing the city in protest of the state’s lockdowns, vaccination drive and restrictions.
Sixty-two protesters were arrested, and three police officers and a journalist were injured.
Victoria’s top brass later revealed officers were forced to use pepper balls, foam baton rounds, smoke bombs and stinger grenades, which deploy rubber pellets to quell the violent protests.
Protest groups canvassed by news.com.au are billing the demonstration as a “street celebration.”
One Facebook event page with less than 100 attendees confirmed at the time of publication shares some detail on what to expect.
“Victoria stands united against Dan Andrews and the Vic Labor govt,” it reads.
“BYO food, drinks, music speakers, signs, flags, banners, and celebration items. “NO march is planned, all attendees to remain at Parliament House steps.”