Bob Baldwin, Liberal Member For Paterson, Announces Retirement

Bob Baldwin, the Liberal member for Paterson, has announced that he will retire at this year’s election.

BaldwinBaldwin, 60, won Paterson in 2013 with 59.78% of the two-party-preferred vote. He secured 53.86% of the primary vote. However, under the recent NSW redistribution, Paterson is now notionally a Labor seat, with a margin of 0.4%. Baldwin’s announcement is not altogether unexpected.

The abolition of neighbouring Charlton, held by the ALP’s Pat Conroy, led to Jill Hall retiring from Shortland, allowing Conroy to transfer there and thereby allowing Joel Fitzgibbon to remain in Hunter, which now absorbs much of the old Charlton.

The ALP has preselected Meryl Swanson to contest Paterson.

Baldwin first won the NSW electorate in 1996 but lost it at the 1998 federal election, before regaining it in 2001. The seat takes in Neath, Kurri Kurri and Williamtown in the south, and along the Hunter River and Port Stephens in the north. It includes Maitland, Nelson Bay and Raymond Terrace. [Read more…]


Sharman Stone, Liberal Member For Murray, Announces Retirement From Parliament

Sharman Stone, the Liberal member for the northern Victorian electorate of Murray, has announced that she will retire from Parliament at this year’s election.

StoneStone, 64, has held Murray since 1996, through seven terms of parliament. She was a parliamentary secretary in the Howard government between 1998 and 2006, when she was appointed Minister for Workforce Participation. She has been overlooked for ministerial positions in the Abbott and Turnbull governments.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull paid a fulsome tribute to Stone today, describing her as a “tireless, enthusiastic representative” and a “stalwart defender of local industry”. Turnbull’s full statement is shown below.

The electorate of Murray is based on Shepparton and Echuca, and includes the towns of Boort, Bridgewater, Cobram, Euroa, Kyabram, Mooroopna, Murchison, Nagamabie, Nathalia, Numurkah, Rochester, Rushworth, Tatura, Violet Town, Wedderburn and Yarrawonga.

Stone held the ultra-safe electorate in 2013 with 70.87% of the two-party vote, up 1.29% on her 2010 margin. The Liberal Party primary vote was 61.41%. [Read more…]


John Cobb, Nationals MP, To Retire From Calare

John Cobb, the Nationals MP for Calare, has announced that he will retire at this year’s election.

CobbCobb, 66, has been a federal member since 2001, through five terms. He held Parkes in 2001 and 2004, transferring to Calare in 2007.

Cobb was a Parliamentary Secretary in the Howard government (2004-05) and became Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs in 2005. He was appointed Minister for Community Services in 2006 and then Assistant Minister for the Environment and Water Resources from 2007 until the government’s defeat that year.

Calare is a safe seat for the Nationals. Its main centres of population include: Bathurst, Blayney, Canowindra, Eugowra, Gulgong, Kandos, Lithgow, Molong, Oberon, Orange, Mudgee, Portland, Rylstone, Wallerawang and Yeoval. [Read more…]


Ian Macfarlane To Retire From Parliament At Election

Ian Macfarlane, the LNP member for Groom in Queensland and former minister in the Abbott and Howard governments, is to retire from parliament at the election due this year.

MacfarlaneMacfarlane has been the member for Groom since 1998. He was Minister for Small Business and then Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources in the Howard government, from 2001 until its defeat in 2007.

Macfarlane was again Minister for Industry and then Minister for Industry and Science in the Abbott government from 2013, until Malcolm Turnbull replaced Abbott last September. Macfarlane agreed to step down from the ministry to allow Turnbull to promote new blood. [Read more…]


Melissa Parke To Retire From Parliament At Next Election

Melissa Parke, the Labor member for Fremantle, has announced that she will retire from Parliament at this year’s federal election.

ParkeParke, 49, has held the safe Labor seat for three terms since 2007.

Her winning margin in Fremantle in 2013 was 4.77%. It was 5.70% in 2010 and 9.14% in 2007. The just-completed redistribution of Western Australian electoral boundaries has the notional margin on 5.9%.

In her announcement, Parke said: “It is time for me to be closer to my family and to travel less.”

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described Parke as an “unstinting champion for human rights, international development and social justice” and thanked her for her “years of dedicated service”. He said: “Melissa can be particularly proud that as Minister for International Development, she appointed Australia’s first Ambassador for Disability and Inclusive Development, with the goal of empowering people in some of the world’s poorest nations.”

Parke is the sixth Labor member of the House of Representatives to announce her retirement. The others are Laurie Ferguson (Werriwa), Alan Griffin (Bruce), Bernie Ripoll (Oxley), Kelvin Thomson (Wills) and Anna Burke (Chisholm). Senators Joe Ludwig and Jan McLucas, both from Queensland, will also retire at the election.

Parke is one of only 5 members to have held Fremantle over the past 82 years since 1934. It was held by former PM John Curtin (1934-45), Kim Beazley Snr (1945-77), John Dawkins (1977-94) and Carmen Lawrence (1994-2007).

Statement by Melissa Parke, ALP member for Fremantle.

Decision to leave Federal Parliament at the next election

After careful consideration I have decided that I will not contest the federal seat of Fremantle for a fourth term at the next election.

It is time for me to be closer to my family and to travel less.

For 8 years I worked overseas for the United Nations, and it will be nearly 9 years that I have been in parliament, crisscrossing this amazing continent to represent the incredible community of Fremantle at the national level.

I deeply respect the passion and values demonstrated daily by my constituents and the support they offer me. However, I believe that renewal is a good tonic for our democracy—my departure will be to the benefit of Fremantle and to the parliament, as every new member brings unique experiences, insights, fresh energy and perspective to the role.

My commitment to advancing the causes of human rights, animal welfare, the environment, public health and education, science and the arts, to addressing extreme poverty, disadvantage and injustice wherever it occurs, including with regard to Australia’s Indigenous peoples and refugees, and to promoting good governance and accountability, is as strong as ever.

I look forward to new challenges in future—but will always remain engaged in the causes I care most about.

Working for and with the greater Fremantle community (including the local government areas of Fremantle, East Fremantle, Melville, and Cockburn) has been a privilege, and I’m proud of our achievements together. I have seen tremendous positive change in local schools, sports, heritage and community infrastructure, in the solar panels that glint upon thousands of rooftops, in the delivery of innovative projects like wave-power and geothermal heating, and in forward-looking Labor initiatives like NDIS, NBN and Gonski.

I was especially glad for the opportunity to work within the Labor government to reduce homelessness and improve the provision of social and affordable housing; to bring a national framework and funding to support mental healthcare; and to be the first dedicated Minister in 25 years for Australia’s world-leading international development agency, AusAID. It was an honour to work with so many good people on such important projects and reforms.

It has been just as special to be a member of the national parliament: to work with parliamentary colleagues across the political spectrum over multiple terms on parliamentary committees including treaties, foreign affairs, law enforcement integrity, and human rights. I have enjoyed being chair of the Australian branch of Parliamentarians for Global Action and co-chairing a number of parliamentary friendship groups relating to the United Nations, UNICEF, ABC, the TPP, drug law reform, and RSPCA Australia.

It has also been a pleasure to work with parliamentary colleagues, academics, scientists, experts, industry, unions and community groups on issues such as abolition of the death penalty, justice for refugees, nuclear disarmament, marine sanctuaries, climate change, press freedom, fair trade, closing the gap, war powers reform, Australian aid, early childhood education, public health, rare diseases, medicinal cannabis, dying with dignity, support for veterans, whistle-blower protection, an independent office of animal welfare, an end to gene patenting, and long-overdue justice for the Palestinian, Tibetan, West Papuan and Rohingya peoples.

The role of an informed and engaged backbencher is undervalued in the Australian political system, which increasingly favours the executive over the parliament. Receiving the triennial Award for Integrity as a parliamentarian from the Accountability Round Table in December 2013 alongside Mark Dreyfus and Judi Moylan was a particular honour.

It has been a humbling and galvanising experience to be part of effective local community action in Fremantle through such events as Gimme Shelter (raising funds and awareness for homelessness), and in local campaigns for more humane refugee policy, climate action, renewable energy, Australian aid and marine sanctuaries, as well as concerted community opposition to live export, supertrawlers, and the road insanity that is the proposed Perth Freight Link (particularly the destructive and pointless Roe 8 highway extension).

I want to thank the people of the Fremantle electorate for their support, encouragement, and constructive criticism.

Finally, I thank the Australian Labor Party for the opportunity to represent Fremantle and Labor in the parliament and Labor members for their sustained support. I acknowledge and thank my staff, past and present, for their deep and abiding commitment to working with me as servants of the Fremantle electorate and the nation. I thank my Labor parliamentary colleagues, past and present, for their shared work, debates, and good company.

I will continue to work for the election of a Bill Shorten-led Labor government as the only guarantee of high-quality public health and education, fair and safe working conditions, the delivery of the NBN and public transport infrastructure, increasing Australian aid, and protection of the environment including meaningful action on climate change.

Statement from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten.

Shorten


MPs Retiring At The 2007 Federal Election

There are House of Representatives MPs retiring at this year’s election. [Read more…]


Rupert “Dick” Hamer Announces His Resignation As Victorian Premier

Rupert “Dick” Hamer became Premier of Victoria on August 23, 1972, succeeding the long-serving Sir Henry Bolte.

He served as Premier for nearly nine years, winning elections in 1973, 1976 and 1979.

Hamer’s retirement came amidst political upheaval in the Liberal Party, but he maintained that he intended to retire in August 1981 anyway. [Read more…]