The Deputy Prime Minister, Tim Fischer, announced his retirement from the Federal Government on July 20.
Speaking to the House of Representatives just after 3pm, the National Party Leader announced that he was quitting as Deputy Prime Minister, Leader of the National Party and Minister for Trade.
He cited personal reasons for his decision. Mr. Fischer’s young son, Harrison, is autistic and it is believed that Mr. Fischer wishes to spend more time with his wife and child.
Mr. Fischer said that he would remain in Parliament as the member for Farrer and said he would devote some time to touring the country and thanking people for his time in politics.
Deputy Leader, John Anderson, the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, is likely to succeed Mr. Fischer as Leader of the National Party. Mark Vaile, the Minister for Argiculture, Fisheries and Forestry, is likely to be the new Deputy Leader.
Mr. Fischer will leave the government after a final stint as Acting Prime Minister during John Howard’s absence overseas in coming weeks.
Fischer has been a member of the House of Representatives since 1984. Previously, he had been a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly since 1971. He was elected leader of the National Party after the 1990 election that saw the defeat of the former leader, Charles Blunt.
After 28 years as a member of parliament, Fischer has served for the past 3 years and 4 months as Minister for Trade and Deputy Prime Minister, following the coalition’s election victory in March 1996.
Speaking in the House, Fischer looked up at the press gallery and said that he knew it was time to go when they stopped calling him “idiosyncratic”.
- Listen to Fischer’s announcement and Howard’s response: