Member for Monbulk James Merlino has today been elected Deputy Leader for the Victorian Labor Party, while Member for Lara John Eren has been elected to the Shadow Cabinet.

Mr Merlino and Mr Eren were elected unopposed to fill the vacancies left by former Deputy Labor Leader and Shadow Minister Rob Hulls, who resigned from parliament last week.

Leader of the Opposition Daniel Andrews welcomed their appointments.

 “We are a strong and united team that’s focused on holding the Baillieu Government to account and I know the experience James Merlino and John Eren will bring to their new roles will hold Labor in good stead,” Mr Andrews said.

 “Mr Merlino will bring a real energy and vigour to the role as Deputy Leader,” Mr Andrews said.

 “We saw his determination during his dogged pursuit of Police Minister Peter Ryan during the Overland affair, and he brings his experience as a great campaigner and effective voice for his community to his new role.

 “John Eren works hard and stands up for his community, and it’s these qualities that will make him a strong and effective member of the Shadow Ministry.

 “It’s great to have another voice representing regional Victoria in Shadow Cabinet.”

 Mr Merlino said it was a great honour to be the Deputy Leader of the Victorian Labor Party.

 “Victorians deserve a better government than what they’ve got, and I’m looking forward to doing everything I can to hold them to account,” Mr Merlino said.

 “I’m excited to be part of Victorian Labor as we renew our party and work to be competitive for the 2014 election.”

 Mr Eren said he was pleased to be able to play a role in the Shadow Ministry.

 “I’ve worked hard to represent my electorate, and I’m looking forward to playing a role in the Shadow Ministry.

 “I will keep the Government accountable for all their promises they made to the Victorian community leading up to the last election.

 James Merlino, who is married with three children, was elected in 2002, and has since held various Ministerial roles including Minister for Sport, Recreation and Youth Affairs, and Minister for Police and Corrections.

 In Opposition, he has held the roles of Shadow Minister for Police and Shadow Minister for the TAC and Road Safety.

 John Eren has been a member of parliament since 2002.

 In that time he has contributed greatly in his capacity as the chair of the Road Safety Committee, and since being in Opposition has served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Minister for Education and Deputy Opposition Leader.

 Mr Eren is married with five children, and has a strong connection with the Geelong community.

 Portfolio allocations will be finalised in coming days.