01/12/2021 - 13:36

Porter to leave parliament

01/12/2021 - 13:36


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Former federal attorney general Christian Porter will not recontest the seat of Pearce at the federal election next year.

Porter to leave parliament

Former federal attorney general Christian Porter will not recontest the seat of Pearce at the federal election next year.

Mr Porter, who also previously served as the state's treasurer and attorney general, told followers on his Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon that he had decided not to recontest the seat.

“After a long time giving everything I could to the people of Pearce it’s now time to give more of what is left to those around me whose love has been unconditional,” he said, highlighting that he wanted to spend more time with his children.

Mr Porter said his family had received less of him than what they deserved because of his commitment to his job.

"My little boy was born one day before I first became a Commonwealth minister," he said.

"He and his little sister have never known anything but their father’s regular absence and so the next part of my working life will be anchored around being close to them and being there for them."

He said he had been particularly proud of the construction of the Northlink road project in Pearce, securing funding for the Yanchep and Ellenbrook rail lines and helping Western Australia secure a better share of the GST.

Mr Porter moved from the role of attorney general to the industry portfolio earlier this year following allegations of a sexual assault when he was a 17-year-old.

In the months that followed, he undertook a defamation battle against broadcaster ABC.

That contributed to his eventual demise: he was unable to disclose who had contributed to a blind trust which helped pay his legal bills, leading him to resign as industry minister.

“There are few, if any, constants left in modern politics,” Mr Porter said.

“Perhaps the only certainty now is that there appears to be no limit to what some will say or allege or do to gain an advantage over a perceived enemy. 

“This makes the harshness that can accompany the privilege of representing people, harder than ever before. 

“But even though I have experienced perhaps more of the harshness of modern politics than most, there are no regrets.”

Battle for Pearce

Mr Porter was among a group of WA Liberal members of parliament who surprised commentators by holding their seats under pressure in the 2019 federal election, helping the coalition retain federal government.

He had represented the district since 2013.

But the looming 2022 election was to be a major challenge.

City of Wanneroo mayor Tracey Roberts was expected to be a strong contender as the local Labor candidate, with Mr Porter holding the seat on a 5.2 per cent margin after redistribution.

Mr Porter has been in the public eye for 20 years, including as WA's director of public prosecutions.

Immediately prior to his time in federal parliament, Mr Porter had served as treasurer in the cabinet of former premier Colin Barnett, and had been seen as his most logical successor.

The son of Olympic silver medallist and former Liberal Party WA state director Chilla Porter, Mr Porter eschewed that opportunity to pursue a bigger goal in federal parliament.

That was partly motivated by a desire to improve the functioning of federalism, an objective partly achieved in 2018 when former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull agreed to introduce a floor in WA's GST payments.


Former prime minister Tony Abbott said in a social media post that Mr Porter could be proud of his contribution as a minister in both the state and federal governments.

He showed intellectual strength and integrity, Mr Abbott said.

"I'm very disappointed that Christian Porter is retiring, after being effectively hounded from the ministry on the basis of decades-old and unprovable allegations," Mr Abbott said.

"It's sad and wrong that a capable person's contribution can be curtailed in this way."

Hunt to retire

Elsewhere in the news, Greg Hunt, who holds the seat of Flinders in Victoria, is also reportedly set to retire.

Mr Hunt has held the health portfolio throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and has been one of the most visible ministers in the federal government in recent years.

His departure opens up a race for the marginal, outer-metropolitan seat the Liberals have held since 2001.



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