Gary Gray, the Labor member for the Western Australian electorate of Brand, has announced that he will retire from Parliament at this year’s election.
Gray, 57, has held Brand for three terms since he succeeded the former ALP leader, Kim Beazley, in 2007. He announced his retirement tonight at a meeting of the Brand Electorate Council.
Gray said it was “time to move on, and to support renewal in the WA Federal Parliamentary Party”.
Last year, Gray and the member for Perth, Alannah MacTiernan, were at risk of losing their preselections in the face of a push for control by the ALP state secretary, Patrick Gorman, who demanded that they sign a “candidate’s pledge”. The party’s National Executive intervened in the disputes in support of the MPs’ right to nominate. Gray also faced a challenge from the party’s Left faction via a candidate from the Electrical Trades Union.
At the 2013 election, Gray held Brand by a margin of 2.88%. Despite a nationwide swing of 3.61%, and a statewide swing in Western Australia of 1.87%, the swing against Gray was just 0.45%.
Following the redistribution of electoral boundaries in Western Australia, it is estimated that Brand’s margin is now 3.8%.
Gray’s retirement brings to eight the number of ALP members of the House of Representatives who will retire at the election. Labor holds just three of the 15 seats in Western Australia and all three members are leaving. Alannah MacTiernan (Perth) announced her departure on February 12, whilst Melissa Parke (Fremantle) did so on January 22.
With all three seats now vacant, the ALP will be better placed to implement its affirmative action policy during the preselection process.
Gary Gray served as a Parliamentary Secretary and Minister throughout the entire term of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd governments. He was variously Special Minister of State, Minister for the Public Service and Integrity, Minister for Resources and Energy, and Minister for Tourism.
Gray was National Secretary of the ALP between 1993 and 2000, during which time he was in charge of the party’s federal election campaigns in 1996 and 1998. His analysis of the 1996 campaign was contentious with the defeated prime minister, Paul Keating.
Gary Gray’s post on Facebook – February 16, 2016.
Tonight I advised my local branch members that I will not contest the seat of Brand in 2016.
Thank you for your support over the years. Thanks to ALP members and supporters all, my staff and my family.
Media release from Gary Gray.
Statement by Hon. Gary Gray AO MP
This evening I advised by local Labor Party rank and file members of my intention not to recontest the seat of Brand at the 2016 election.
At my regular Brand Electorate Council meeting, I informed members that after 9 years I felt it was time to move on, and to support renewal in the WA Federal Parliamentary Party.
I have also discussed this decision with Federal Labor Leader Bill Shorten.
The portfolios of Resources, Energy, Economic policy, Northern Australia, and Electoral Reform have long been my passion and I could like to thank Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Bill Shorten along with all my colleagues for allowing me the opportunity to work at the highest level in these fields and to cut my teeth in Small Business, Tourism and Regional Development.
I thank my wife Deb and my family, my staff, friends and all the members of the Australian Labor Party.
I joined a union and the Australian Labor Party at the age of 16. After 41 years of continuous membership, 7 years as National Secretary and 9 years in the Federal Parliament, I am pleased to say it’s time for renewal and regeneration.
I thank the people of Rockingham, Kwinana and Mandurah for their support and goodwill throughout a wonderful period in Parliament.
I wish Bill Shorten and my colleagues in the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party well. They are a terrific group of people, they will form a great government.
I have offered my resignation from the Shadow Cabinet, although I will serve in whatever capacity Bill Shorten seeks of me until the election later this year.
I thank my state colleagues, especially Mark McGowan, Paul Papalia, David Templeman and Roger Cook. I wish them all well for the future.
My staff have been loyal, hardworking and committed to the community we serve, and I thank them for that.
- One of the Australian Labor Party’s youngest and longest serving National Secretaries.
- Executive Director of the Western Australian Institute of Medical Research, now the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research.
- Appointed Officer of the Order of Australia in 2003 for his contribution to Electoral Reform and affirmative action in the Australian Labor Party.
- A member of the Executive Team at Woodside Energy from 2001 to 2007.