Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans today announced his decision to resign from the Gillard Ministry and step down as Leader of the Government in the Senate.
"Thanks to the Labor Party I have enjoyed a very rewarding political career and have been afforded extraordinary privileges and opportunities," Senator Evans said.
"I have always advised people to retire at a time that is right for them and right for the party and today I am taking my own advice.
"I am making the move now because I know the party is in very good shape and this will allow the Prime Minister to lead a ministerial team who are ready to serve on into the next term.
"It will also allow for renewal and a new leadership team in the Senate."
Having migrated from Wales with his family at the age of nine, Senator Evans said he would always be grateful for the opportunities he had enjoyed in Australia.
"To have served as Senate Leader, a Cabinet Minister and acting Prime Minister speaks to the incredible opportunities this country provides," Senator Evans said.
"Thanks to the Labor Party and to Prime Minister Gillard I have had the opportunity to make a contribution in a senior role, to be a member of a very talented Cabinet team in a Labor Government which has delivered historic reforms.
"I have been fortunate to serve in a range of diverse, challenging and important portfolios since 2007 and I am proud of the reforms agendas I have implemented.
"It's now the right time for me to move to the next chapter in my life and for others to have the opportunity to make a contribution.
"I thank my family for their support and acknowledge the price they have paid for allowing me to pursue my career."
Senator Evans paid tribute to Labor Senators John Faulkner and Robert Ray for mentoring him when he first entered parliament and thanked Senator Conroy and his Senate colleagues for their support during his time as Leader of the Government in the Senate.
Since 2007 Senator Evans has served as Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Immigration and Citizenship and Workplace Relations.
"Our landmark reforms have transformed skills training and higher education. More Australians now have the opportunity to get the qualifications needed in our modern economy," he said.
"I was pleased to help bring home Australia's bid to host the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope and to ensure ANSTO remains at the forefront of nuclear medicine through the manufacture of Molybdenum 99.
"It was a privilege to serve as Immigration Minister and to have the opportunity to reshape our migration system.
"I am also proud of the reforms we introduced to see women receive equal pay in the community services sector and to improve the conditions for workers in the transport industry, the textile and clothing trades and firefighting."
Senator Evans will retire from the Senate in coming months following the selection of a new Senator for Western Australia.
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