Today I am announcing my retirement from the Ministry, with my final day being tomorrow, Tuesday 13 December.
There are three interrelated reasons for my decision:
- Serving 14 years on the front bench during more than 21 years in the Senate – three years as a parliamentary secretary (1993-96), seven years as a shadow minister (between 1996-2007) and four years as a minister since 2007.
- I have just turned 56.
- I have three young children.
Given these factors, I believe it is an appropriate time to step aside well before the next election to allow another member of the Parliamentary Labor Party the opportunity to serve as a minister.
This was my decision taken after consultation with close friends outside the Parliament. I then informed the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and Senate Government Leader, Chris Evans.
I am fit, energetic, enjoy good health and I am happy with life.
I have enjoyed immensely a wide range of responsibilities - in primary industry and resources, superannuation and corporate law, assistant treasurer, small business, tourism and deregulation.
The policy challenges were significant, particularly during the Global Financial Crisis phase 1.
I have been proud to represent Australia and to have been a minister in successive Labor Governments.
I thank Prime Minister Gillard for appointing me in 2010. The trust and confidence is appreciated. We have enjoyed a very good working relationship. I also thank her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, for my initial appointment as Australia’s first Superannuation Minister. We have also enjoyed a very good relationship.
I thank all leaders of the Parliamentary Labor Party, ministerial colleagues (particularly Senate Leader Chris Evans and former leader Senator John Faulkner), my parliamentary colleagues, staff, public servants, a wide range of organisations and individuals in the community and the media.
I will be continuing as Senator for Tasmania, however will not contest pre-selection in 2013 and look forward to the challenges in 2012 and beyond.
I wish all a happy and safe Christmas and New Year.
A printable version of the statement [PDF 32 KB] is available.