201511.24

Election 2016: Time to hang up the campaign R.M.Williams

Tuesday 24 November 2015:

Today I advised my parliamentary colleagues I will not be seeking to earn the support of my beloved Dunkley community at the next election to represent ‘Melbourne’s Riviera’ for an eighth term.

After two decades in public life, my family and I have reflected on circumstances following the change of leadership and decided it is the right time to ‘hang up the campaign R.M. Williams’.

It has become clear to us that while I love what I do, it is not possible for me to fully do what I love.

For the last 12 years of my 20 years as a Parliamentarian, I have been a Coalition front-bencher and for the last six years, a cabinet/shadow cabinet member, fearlessly advocating the case for the small business, family enterprise, start-up and self-employed community.

With insights and support from this community, I have led many of the key policy arguments and implemented reforms to nurture a fairer and more forward-looking competitive environment and entrepreneurial eco-system.

This has been both challenging and incredibly satisfying, as has been my numerous roles in portfolios as diverse as veterans affairs, defence, foreign affairs and trade, immigration, indigenous and multicultural affairs.  Perhaps there will be time for valedictories later …

To be able to work ‘selflessly’ for your community and nation is what is required and rightfully expected.  However to do so requires a ‘selfishness’ in terms of availability and intellectual focus which family experience as being physically and mentally ‘away’ an awful lot and for key events.

While the impact on our family has been profound, we have been nourished and comforted by knowing it was all for the pursuit of meaningful goals and delivering better outcomes for our Dunkley community and our nation.

I am committed to doing all I can to support the Turnbull Government and to ensuring the talented new Ministerial team has maximum opportunity for ‘clear air’ and a sure-footed start.  Doing this means curtailing my disposition to seek to lead, strongly advocate and implement policy initiatives and reform ideas.

Our conclusion after much consideration is that the goal of a more family-friendly professional life of purpose, challenge and impact is best pursued in another field.

It is my intention to see out this term and fully dedicate myself to the needs, goals and ambitions of the Dunkley community.  I will be working to support the success of the Turnbull Government as the best prospect for our community and building prosperity, economic resilience and personal security.

I am profoundly grateful and full of respect for the Dunkley community which has placed its trust, hopes, confidence and aspirations in me.

My sincere appreciation and heartfelt thanks goes out to my sweetheart Kate, my children, the incredibly talented and committed staff I have had the good fortune to work with, the Liberal Party, my campaign team, supporters and all those whose advice, support and wise counsel has made possible my parliamentary career and the honour of representing the community in which I grew up.

I have loved these days and make public this decision with no regret, remorse or bitterness.