Senator Robert Hill, the Minister for Defence, announced his resignation today.
Hill is expected to take up the position of Australian Ambassador to the United Nations.
- Listen to Senator Robert Hill’s Resignation Press Conference (19m)
This is the text of a media statement from Senator Robert Hill.
RESIGNATION FROM MINISTRY
Today I have formally tendered my resignation to the Prime Minister from the position as Defence Minister and Leader of the Government in the Senate.
I will continue to represent the interests of the residents of South Australia as a Senator in the immediate future; however I intend to resign as a Senator some time during this next Parliamentary sitting period.
It has been a great honour to serve the Australian community as a Senator for nearly 25 years and as a Minister of the Australian Government for the past 10 years.
I am privileged to have been Defence Minister since November 2001 at a time when the Australian military has been heavily engaged in overseas operations and humanitarian relief efforts, including in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Solomon Island, Sudan and Indonesia.
I take this opportunity to thank my Cabinet and Senate colleagues and in particular the dedicated supporters of the Liberal Party who stuck by the cause during 13 years in Opposition.
I thank my family, friends and members of my Ministerial and personal staff who have made it possible for me to serve the Government for so many years.
I also thank the officers of the Department of Defence, the senior military leadership and officers of the Department of Environment and Heritage who I have worked closely with, for their dedicated service.
I will continue to work hard in support of the Howard Government, which has delivered and will continue to deliver the best opportunity for a safe and prosperous future for all Australians.
Senator Robert Hill is the Coalition’s longest serving Leader of the Government in the Senate, having held the office since the Coalition’s election victory on 3 March 1996. He is also the longest serving Party Leader in the Senate, after becoming Leader of the Opposition in the Senate in 1990.
Senator Hill has been a Liberal Senator for South Australia since 1 July 1981 and is currently serving his sixth continuous term after being first elected in October 1980.
He was appointed Minister for Defence following the Coalition’s third Federal election victory on 10 November 2001.
As Leader of the Government in the Senate, he has secured the passage of landmark legislation through the Senate to fulfil the Howard Government’s policy agenda.
Previously, Senator Hill was Australia’s longest serving Minister for the Environment where he was responsible for major programs in areas of conservation and sustainable use of Australia’s natural heritage, climate change and biodiversity.
Senator Hill’s major achievements in this portfolio included the passage of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the biggest overhaul of environmental laws in Australia’s history and the establishment of the $2.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust, the largest environmental rescue package ever undertaken by an Australian Government.
In Defence, Senator Hill has had oversight of operations (combat, peacekeeping and humanitarian) in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Solomon Islands, Pakistan, Sudan, Indonesia and elsewhere.
He has been responsible for two Strategic Updates, the reform of the Defence Materiel Organisation, a major procurement program for all three Services, a significantly upgraded capability branch, change in the intelligence organisations and other major institutional change.
Senator Hill has had long and senior involvement in the Liberal Party of Australia, holding many positions including State President (SA Division) from 1985 to 1987 and sitting on the State Executive for 21 years and the Federal Executive of the Party for 18 years.
In Opposition he held the shadow portfolios of:
- Justice, the ACT and the Status of Women (16 September 1988 – 12 May 1989)
- Foreign Affairs (12 May 1989 – 7 April 1993)
- Defence and Public Administration (8 April 1993 – 17 January 1994)
- Public Administration (17 January 1994 – 26 May 1994)
- Education, Science and Technology (26 May 1994 – 7 March 1996)