Liberal MP Nicolle Flint announces she’s leaving politics

South Australian Liberal MP Nicolle Flint has announced she’s quitting politics and will not stand at the next federal election.

Flint declared that she would not recontest her seat of Boothby and would be bowing out of politics. During her time in parliament Flint has faced a barrage of sexist and demeaning commentary, memorably making a video where she wore a plastic garbage bag as a dress in response to comments made by an ABC radio host.

In a statement announcing her retirement after two terms in office FLint said she would continue to work for her local community up until the next polling day.

“It has been an honour to represent the people of Boothby over two terms and I am grateful to them, and to my Liberal Party members, for giving me this opportunity,” Flint said in a statement.

“I will continue to work hard to serve my local community until the election.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a statement on Friday night saying Nicolle Flint had been an “invaluable member of the Liberal team and my government”.

“The public attention from being a parliamentarian does sometimes attract unacceptable behaviour, and I have admired Nicolle’s efforts to stand against the bullying and nastiness of particular groups and individuals,” The Prime Minister said. “I wish her all the best for what comes next.”

While the MP has been recognised for her fortitude is facing off bullies, she also had a memorable interaction on the ABC’s Q&A program where she shared her views on how transgender children should deal with bullying.

In June 2019 Flint told the ABC’s audience that homophobic and transphobic bullying could be solved if people were just taught to respect each other.

Her comment received quick comeback from fellow panelist, singer Jimmy Barnes, who asked if that was her goal – why the government removed the Safe Schools program.

“I thought that Safe Schools program was a really good start to that.” Barnes said. “I couldn’t understand why that was being cut.”

“Where there was so many young kids struggling with their sexuality, and just their position in life in general. To cut funding to that seemed like an odd choice.”

Barnes said he felt the Safe Schools program has achieved exactly the goal that Flint was proposing.

Flint said she disagreed and anti-bullying programs needed to be across the board rather than focussing on an element such as sexuality.

The discussion was prompted by a questioner saying he’d felt unwelcome in Adelaide after growing up in Flint’s electorate of Boothby.

He asked what strategies could be implemented to stop young LGBTIQ+ people from feeling like they had to move to Sydney or Melbourne to be accepted.

“Adelaide is a great city, and we’ve got a history of tolerance and welcoming people.” Flint said.

“There’s a bit of history of throwing gay people off bridges.” interrupted host Tony Jones, with Barnes also noting that the city had a history of gay people ending up in the Torrens river.

In 1972 Dr George Duncan, a law lecturer, drowned after being thrown into the river by a group of men. It is believed his attackers were police officers. Public outrage over the crime lead to South Australia becoming the first state to decriminalise homosexuality in 1975.

Flint said that example was appalling, but South Australia in its earliest days had been a place where people came to seek out freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

Prior to being elected to parliament Flint was a solicitor and news paper columnist, before serving as an advisor to Malcolm Turnbull and Brendan Nelson.

OIP Staff

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