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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%.

Whilst it is unlikely that the Liberal Party would have any trouble holding Murray, it is worth noting that the neighbouring seat of Indi was won by an independent in 2013. The state electorate of Shepparton, which lies entirely within Murray, was also won by an independent in the 2014 state election. Stone’s campaign in support of the SPC Ardmona cannery, against the wishes of the Liberal government, will have bolstered her support in the area.

Stone is the eleventh Coalition member of the House of Representatives to announce her retirement. She is the third Liberal from Victoria, along with Andrew Robb (Goldstein) and Bruce Billson (Dunkley). Nine ALP members of the House have also announced their departures, including three from Victoria: Alan Griffin (Bruce), Anna Burke (Chisholm) and Kelvin Thomson (Wills).

Statement from Sharman Stone MP.

This is my 20th year as the Member for Murray, and I am soon to have my 65th birthday. I have been honoured to have served this magnificent region as the Federal Member, but now I believe is the right time to pass the torch to the next person who will respresent us with passion and a deep love of our place.

Every day as the Member for Murray I have worked with so many great men, women and children, some descendants of families going back generations, some just arrived in our great country. It makes no difference, we are united in wanting the best for our families and a safe and secure future.

It has been a unique privilege to have served as the Member for Murray. I cannot imagine having had a more rewarding and challening, but fulfilling role. I thank the wonderful people of Murrary, my hard working and loyal staff and my Liberal Teams of branch members who have been my political familiy since 1996. May we see the Coalition Government returned at the next election (whenever that is!) to keep our country strong and prosperous.

Statement from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Sharman Stone has been a tireless, enthusiastic representatives of her people of northern Victoria through 20 years – the good times and the tough times of fire, flood and drought.

She is among the fifth generation of her family to be born in the electorate of Murray.

And this great family heritage always showed in the way she went about her work.

Sharman has been a stalwart defender of local industry – most recently in the crucial role she played in keeping alive the hopes of the workers and suppliers of the SPC Ardmona factory in Shepparton.

Sharman understands the rich diversity of the community she represents. As a scholar and author, and as a parliamentarian and minister, she has been a passionate and intelligent advocate for the interests of Indigenous Australians.

Murray is an irrigation electorate and Sharman’s persuasively argued and well informed views on water management have been very influential in the formation of water policy, as I know from first-hand experience when I was Minister for Environment and Water Resources in 2007.

In Canberra she also made her mark as a persuasive advocate for women in positions of leadership.

Sharman’s interests and influence extend far from her Murrary electorate, including representing the Federal Parliament at the United Nations General Assembly, where she played a role in framing the new Sustainable Development Goals.

But her first passion has always been reserved for the communities of the magnificent country which stretches from the Mallee across the great northern plains and into the Goulburn and Murray River valleys.

And I know this won’t change as she spends more time with her family in Shepparton and writes the next chapter of her professional life.

On behalf of the Government and the Liberal Party, I thank Sharman for her service to her community, her Party and her nation.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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