2nd March 2019
Australian Federal politics is a demanding, robust, and relentless arena. Notwithstanding this, serving in our Nation’s Parliament is an incredible privilege, intensely rewarding, and a vocation unlike any other.
When I was preselected on 19th May 2001 at 26 years of age it was a big decision to commit myself and wife Astra to this vocation. Now, over 17 years later at age 44 and with two children, it has been an even bigger decision for me to not recontest the forthcoming election.
Serving the past three years as a Cabinet Minister, six as a Minister or Assistant Minister, around 10 on the Government and Opposition front-bench, and 17 as the Member for Moncrieff has been an extraordinary experience.
None of this would have been possible without my wife Astra standing beside me. Astra, Asher and Tennyson particularly endured the rigours of the past five years while I served as Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Minister for International Development and the Pacific, and then Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister.
Astra and our boys have always brought sanity to the madness of political life. I love and adore them and know we will thrive with whatever comes next.
I am so grateful to the Liberal National Party Members in Moncrieff. They provided the platform for me to stand as a Member of the Liberal Party Room, to pursue our shared beliefs of the supremacy of the individual over the state, smaller government, and the broad vision espoused by Menzies’ ‘forgotten people’ speeches. They dedicated hours, days, and weeks to supporting me and our Party over many years and I thank them all, especially the Young LNP.
Locally, representing Moncrieff and Australia’s fastest growing and most dynamic city has been a true joy. This rapid growth presents real challenges in our city and I have been pleased to work over the years to deliver billions in infrastructure investment in our city to help meet these challenges. From over $1 billion for the M1, to all three stages of the light rail, two medical schools, numerous facilities at Griffith University, law and order infrastructure, tourism support and record international tourist numbers, as well as critical health facilities from MRI machines to mental health. This still represents just a small fraction of the work done over the past six terms.
Thank you to the people of Moncrieff who have supported me and the Liberal Party. I have enjoyed immensely meeting thousands and thousands of my fellow Gold Coasters. We have shared laughs, tears, frustrations and joy. I have witnessed time and again locals who seek no fame, just wonderful people who want to make our community a great place to live, working to effect change. It has been my honour to stand with them and represent them.
On the national and international stage I have sought to help shape Australia’s standing. As Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, I leave having concluded the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. This agreement will shape Australia’s and Indonesia’s trade and investment relationship for decades. It will help promote prosperity for both our people and provide unmatched access for Australians to one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
Similarly, I was pleased to start and conclude the Australia-Peru FTA; an FTA with Hong Kong; conclude the regional trade and development agreement with Pacific Island Countries through PACER Plus; be the first country to establish a working group with the UK for a post-Brexit FTA, commence EU FTA negotiations; and restart stalled global negotiators on the trade rules for global e-commerce.
I thank former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for that opportunity.
As Minister for Defence Industry it has been a joy to work alongside the Hon Christopher Pyne MP whose passion for all things defence is well known.
Australia’s defence industry is in remarkably good shape and energised by the Liberal and National Parties $200 billion build up of sovereign capability.
I thank Prime Minister Scott Morrison for that opportunity.
A selfless, dedicated and professional team have made all these achievements possible. Over the years I have been incredibly fortunate to harness the talents of many amazing staff who have invested their all to helping shape my contribution. I particularly want to thank Alistair Mitchell, my chief of staff, who has been a fixture for as long as I can remember my time in politics. Karly Abbott and Kathy Quinn also deserve special mention for their years of support, as does Ben Dillaway who stood at the doorway of one of the toughest realms – my media adviser. They are a few of many to whom I say thank you.
It has always been my view that politics is a means to an end. I have never sought to be a ‘time server’. My contribution is made.
I believe serving the community and our country through politics to be an honourable vocation. It is hard. It can be exhausting and trying. I conclude more than seventeen years so grateful for having had the opportunity to serve, for the opportunity to help shape our nation, and for the opportunity to stand alongside so many other fine Australians – on all sides of the political aisle – passionate about making our Country the best it can be.