A history-making day in Australian politics has produced another unexpected turn of events with Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner announcing that he will retire from politics at the forthcoming election.
The announcement came at the end of new Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s first Question Time in the House of Representatives.
Tanner said he had approached former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd a couple of weeks ago and indicated he would not contest the election. He said the decision “is driven entirely and absolutely by matters of personal circumstances”.
Tanner was elected as the member for Melbourne at the 1993 election. He has served in six parliaments.
Hansard transcript of Lindsay Tanner’s statement to the House of Representatives.
Mr TANNER (Minister for Finance and Deregulation) (3:15 PM) —On indulgence, I rise to advise the House that I will not be contesting the forthcoming federal election. I just wish to outline some of the reasoning behind my decision. A couple of weeks ago I spoke with the then Prime Minister indicating that it was my intention not contest the coming election. He asked me to delay consideration of this decision, indeed to reconsider. He indicated that he wanted me to stay on as a minister even if I did choose to step down. I concurred with his request and we agreed that we would revisit the matter at the end of the parliamentary sitting period. In fact, we had an appointment scheduled for 9.30 this morning to consider this matter. As you all know, by one of those strange quirks of fate that tend to occur in politics, other matters intervened. So I found myself doing what I expected to do—namely, confirming my intention not to recontest the election—slightly later in the day to a different Prime Minister, the incoming Prime Minister. I am now formally advising the House of my decision. I have indicated to the incoming Prime Minister that I am equally happy to continue serving in my current ministerial position until the election or to step aside without demur should she choose to ask me to do so. [Read more...]