Liberals’ Christian Porter and Greg Hunt to leave politics


Former Attorney General Christian Porter has announced his retirement from politics saying he will not contest the 2022 federal election for this Western Australian seat of Pearce. There are also reports that Health Minister Greg Hunt will declare his days in the parliament are over, Hunt is expected to formally announce his retirement tomorrow, parliament’s final day of sitting for 2022.

In a statement posted to his website Porter said he was leaving politics and public service after more than two decades saying he was proud to have served in the Western Australian parliament between 2008 and 2013, and then later the federal parliament parliament.

“It has been a remarkable privilege to have been a State Attorney General and State Treasurer in Western Australia and to have been the Commonwealth Minister for Social Services, Industry, Science and Technology and serve as Commonwealth Attorney General and Industrial Relations Minister and Leader of the House of Representatives.” Porter said.

The former Attorney-General said he was leaving with no regrets, but noted he had experienced a “harsher” time than many who enter the political arena.

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

Porter said before each election he always asked himself if he could serve the full three-year term, and this time round he’d realised he was not up to the commitment.

His resignation ends a tumultuous year for the Liberal member. In March he identified himself as the subject of historical accusations of sexual assault that had been broadcast by the ABC. Porter strenuously denied the allegations.  He stepped down as the Attorney-General when he launched defamation proceedings against the ABC and reporter Louise Milligan.

In late May he agreed to discontinue the case after the ABC publicly stated it did not intend to suggest that Porter had committed the alleged offence, and it regretted “some readers misinterpreted the article as an accusation of guilt against Mr Porter”.

In September Porter revealed his legal fees and been paid for by a blind trust of unknown donors, which sparked a discussion about the appropriateness of a Minister being the beneficiary of funds from potentially unknown sources. As debate over the issue raged on, Porter stepped down from his Ministerial role.

Porter’s Western Australian seat of Pearce is no longer considered a ‘safe seat’ after electoral boundary changers saw it’s margin slashed to just 5.2% ahead of the next federal election. Wanneroo mayor Tracey Roberts has been announced as Labor’s pick for the seat, while the Liberals will now be seeking a new candidate.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has not formally declared his intention to resign but it has been widely reported in the media that he’ll be making a statement to parliament on Thursday, the final sitting day of the 2021 parliamentary calendar.

Hunt was first elected to parliament at the 2001 election following as career political staff and time in academia and business. He served as a Parliamentary secretary in the Howard government, and was the Shadow Minister for Environment when the Liberals became the opposition at the 2007 election.

In the Abbott government he was appointed Minister for the Environment, a position he retained when Malcolm Turnbull took over as Prime Minister. In the second Turnbull government he shifted to being the Minister for Industry, Innovation, and Science.

He was moved up to being the Health Minister following the resignation of Susan Ley, who had been embroiled in a controversy in 2017. He has served as Health Minister throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hunt voted against marriage equality in the parliament on several occasions, but changed his view in 2015 saying his views had “evolved” over the years. During his parliamentary career he also advocated for allowing the use of abortion drug RU-486, and is one of the original proponents of the National Chaplaincy Program.

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