Andrews redefined by crises-plagued term

Daniel Andrews has had it all thrown at him - fires, floods, a spinal injury and a one-in-100 year pandemic.

When times get tough, the Victorian premier reverts to type: pushing on and pushing through.

It has served him well over the past few turbulent years.

His second term began unassumingly enough but was quickly sidetracked by the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires that killed five people and destroyed more than 300 homes across the state.

Less than a month after the last was contained, Victoria entered the first of six lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19.

While the state took a hardline stance, it wasn't long until the virus seeped out of its hotel quarantine scheme, leading to tens of thousands of cases and more than 800 deaths.

An inquiry could not identify who was responsible for deciding to use private security guards in the program, with Mr Andrews among those saying they were unable to recall.

It ultimately claimed the scalps of health minister Jenny Mikakos, senior bureaucrat Chris Eccles and health department secretary Kym Peake.

The premier became a repeated target of the Morrison government and others over the saga, the state's ill-prepared contact tracing system, subsequent snap lockdowns and border closures.

When the national vaccine rollout got off to a sluggish start and the state re-entered lockdown after the Delta variant spread from NSW, Mr Andrews returned serve.

"Who forgot to order the vaccine? It wasn't state premiers. I do not need to be lectured by Scott Morrison about these issues," he said.

In all, Melbourne spent at least 263 days under stay-at-home orders from March 2020 to October 2021.

But community angst reached fever pitch when the government instituted the statewide "vaccinated economy", worker jab mandates and contentious pandemic laws, sparking civil unrest.

The COVID fallout, although barely mentioned in the election campaign, has redefined the Labor leader, making him one of the most recognisable faces in the country after fronting 120 daily press conferences in a row.

What voters see varies drastically and political observers agree Australia's longest serving state or territory leader is equally polarising.

Former Labor strategist and RedBridge director Kos Samaras said many people in focus groups can't stand Mr Andrews but begrudgingly plan to vote for him and his party.

"They say 'the world's going to hell in a handbasket - that's the type of bastard you want running the show'," he told AAP.

"The recent floods simply reinforced it. It's a John Howard thing."

While managing recurring health and natural disasters, Mr Andrews has been hosing down the political consequences of Labor's branch-stacking scandal that led to another four ministers departing and federal takeover of the state party.

He also battled back from fracturing his spine and breaking several ribs in a fall on the Mornington Peninsula in March 2021.

Mr Andrews has vowed to serve all four years as leader if he and his government secure a third term.

Monash University political scientist Zareh Ghazarian said it was wise to nip any leadership speculation in the bud.

"That gives the premier clear air, gives Labor clean air. They don't have to entertain questions about generational renewal or changes in leadership," he told AAP.

Premiers who serve more than 3000 days are traditionally immortalised in bronze outside Melbourne's Treasury Place, with Mr Andrews potentially joining Albert Dunstan, Henry Bolte, Rupert Hamer and John Cain based on published polls.

Statue or not, he's already left his mark on Victoria.