Only two leaders of the Australian states and territories who battled through Covid lockdowns are still in the top job after Daniel Andrews announced his shock resignation after nine years at the helm.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is the only premier still standing – alongside territory leader, ACT’s Chief Minister Andrew Barr – from the era of brutal Covid restrictions and stay at home orders.
The most notable aspect of his time in office was his handling of the pandemic, which included implementing strict COVID measures such as the world’s longest lockdowns, closing the state’s borders for the first time ever and introducing social distancing restrictions and mask and vaccine mandates.
Mr Andrews put Melbourne through six lockdowns in total, which gave the city the dubious title of the most locked-down city in the world.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured) and the ACT’s Chief Minister Andrew Barr are the final two leaders standing since the COVID pandemic. Ms Palaszczuk is the only premier
This was closely contested with cities in Chile, Peru and the Philippines which also saw lengthy lockdowns.
Buenos Aires in Argentina had the longest continuous lockdown, which lasted for 234 days.
Melburnians spent more time in lockdown but less continuous time under harsh COVID restrictions.
Restrictions during lockdowns included a five-kilometre travel limit and a nightly curfew for those in Melbourne.
Critics and media outlets began to label Mr Andrews as ‘Chairman Dan’ and ‘Dictator Dan’ due to the stringency of his measures.
The Andrews government was also lambasted over vaccine mandates and hotel quarantine mismanagement.
The latter point received significant criticism when it was revealed private security contractors and workers with little training in infection control had been hired to enforce quarantine and work within the hotels.
Daniel Andrews (pictured) announced that he was stepping down as the premier for Victoria, after nine years at the helm
Some of these contractors caught the virus and spread in into the community which led to the second wave COVID in mid-2020.
The next wave contributed to another lockdown, harsh restrictions and the loss of more than 800 lives.
Mr Andrews nor any of his ministers took responsibility for the decision to use contractors throughout the inquiry into the matter, which the premier had called for and engaged retired judge Jennifer Coate to head.
Mark McGowan, who was Western Australia’s Premier during the pandemic and garnered a similar national profile, stepped down as premier in May, citing exhaustion. He was replaced by Roger Cook.
NSW had two premiers throughout the pandemic.
Dominic Perrottet took over from Gladys Berejiklian after she announced her resignation on October 5, 2021.
The shock departure was sparked by an investigation into Ms Berejiklian’s conduct during her time as premier that was launched by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
WA Premier Mark McGowan (pictured), who rose to national prominence with his hardline border closures, stepped down in May, citing ‘exhaustion’ from the ‘all consuming job’
The watchdog looked into whether Ms Berejiklian breached public trust or engaged in corrupt behaviour while she was in a relationship with former disgraced Liberal MP, Daryl McGuire.
The ICAC found that Berejiklian had engaged in ‘serious corrupt conduct’ but did not recommend criminal charges upon delivering its verdict in June of this year.
Ms Berejiklian, who had been in the job since Mike Baird stepped down in January 2017, also made a plethora of controversial decisions during the pandemic.
NSW had mask and vaccine mandates, gathering restrictions and social distancing like other states and territories, but the major differences came through lockdowns and border closures, which attracted praise but also condemnation.
The premier was criticised for resisting calls to lockdown the state in June 2021 as cases grew. Some media outlets reported that this opposition resulted in infections growing into the tens of thousands.
The severity of lockdowns also came down to which local government area (LGA) residents lived in.
Government areas in Sydney’s south-west endured harsher lockdown measures including patrols and curfew compared to LGA’s in the eastern suburbs which were far more relaxed.
Border closures were also more relaxed in NSW, with Ms Berejiklian sometimes slamming state premiers such as Mr Mcgowan for refusing to open up their borders in press conferences.
Former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) took a less strict approach to lockdowns and border closures during the pandemic compared to other premiers
For South Australia, Liberal politician Steven Marshall ran the state for the pandemic before his government was soundly defeated in the 2022 state election.
Labor’s Peter Malinauskas has been in the top job since.
Mr Marshall was less stringent with measures but still imposed border closures, shorter lockdowns, mask mandates and gathering restrictions.
Peter Gutwein stepped in as Tasmania’s premier after Will Hodgman resigned just before the pandemic in January 2020.
He implemented border restrictions and hotel quarantine in March of that year. Similar COVID-safe measures were also imposed.
Mr Gutwein resigned and his deputy Jeremy Rockliff took over in April 2022.
The Northern Territory had Labor’s Michael Gunner as chief minister throughout the pandemic.
His government brought forward border closures, lockouts, face masks and other measures.
There was significant concern at the height of COVID that the virus would reach vulnerable Indigenous communities in the territory.
The chief minister later lifted border restrictions in December 2021. Several peak Aboriginal health groups proceeded to send a scathing letter to Mr Gunner criticising this move in early 2022.
Natasha Fyles took over from Mr Gunner when he resigned in May 2022.
Post source: Daily mail