Greg Combet To Leave Parliament

Greg Combet has announced that he will retire from Parliament at the forthcoming election.

CombetCombet quit the Cabinet on Wednesday night, following the re-election of Kevin Rudd as the ALP’s leader, replacing Julia Gillard.

He says he was already in discussion with Gillard about leaving parliament. “My reasons are personal and are not attributable to the change in the leadership of the Labor Party this week, although this has provided a catalyst for my decision.”

The former Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation has held the NSW electorate of Charlton since 2007. He was Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions before entering parliament.

The Secretary of the ACTU, Dave Oliver, said: “Greg has been an outstanding Labor Minister, putting the interests of working people front and centre of policy reform. As Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation he has delivered historic climate change reform that supports jobs while addressing the urgent challenge of transitioning to a lower-carbon economy. Among countless achievements as ACTU Secretary, Greg drove the highly successful Your Rights at Work campaign that killed off WorkChoices.”

Combet was one of seven ministers who left the government on Wednesday night. The others are: Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan, Craig Emerson, Peter Garrett, Senator Stephen Conroy and Senator Joe Ludwig.

Gillard, Emerson and Garrett are also leaving parliament, as is Defence Minister Stephen Smith.

The electorate of Charlton is a safe Labor seat based around Lake Macquarie and Newcastle. It has been held by Labor since it was created in 1984. At the 2010 election, Combet won the seat with 53.15% of the primary vote and 62.67% of the two-party-preferred vote.

  • Watch Combet in Parliament on November 1, 2012, a few days before the Melbourne Cup:

Combet has released this statement:

Statement by Greg Combet, ALP member for Charlton.

Decision Not To Recontest Charlton

Today I have advised local Labor Party branch members, Parliamentary colleagues and the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd that I will not recontest the federal seat of Charlton.

I have made this decision following a long period of consideration, discussion with my family, friends and close colleagues, and consultation with my local Labor Party supporters. It is a matter that I had discussed over a period of months with the former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

My reasons are personal and are not attributable to the change in the leadership of the Labor Party this week, although this has provided a catalyst for my decision.

This year is my 30th year of full-time activism in the labour movement. Prior to entering Parliament in 2007 I worked in demanding roles in the trade union movement for many years. It is simply time for me to step back from a frontline role and pursue a change in my working and personal life.

I wish to be more available to my family and friends, look after my health, and focus more on my personal life.

I will do all that I can to support Labor and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in the upcoming election.

Statement from the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

Combet a champion of Australian workers

Greg Combet is a champion of working people who has used his career in Parliament and the trade union movement to deliver real outcomes for jobs and workplace rights.

Mr Combet’s announcement he will not recontest the upcoming election was an opportunity to reflect on his enormous contribution, said ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver.

“Greg has been an outstanding Labor Minister, putting the interests of working people front and centre of policy reform.

“As Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation he has delivered historic climate change reform that supports jobs while addressing the urgent challenge of transitioning to a lower-carbon economy.

“Among countless achievements as ACTU Secretary, Greg drove the highly successful Your Rights at Work campaign that killed off WorkChoices.

“He guided the union movement through the difficult waterfront dispute, leading the fight against Patrick’s shameful attempt to smash a unionised workforce.

“He secured compensation payments from James Hardie for victims of asbestos disease.”

Australian unions can’t thank Greg enough for his contribution to the union movement and to all Australian working people, said ACTU President Ged Kearney.

“We hope to see him remain involved in the labour movement in some capacity, and wish him well for the next chapter of his life.”

Greg Combet joined the ACTU as an industrial officer in 1993 and served as ACTU Secretary between 2000 and 2007.

Print Friendly