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Macfarlane steps down

Ian Macfarlane.FORMER Coalition government minister and Queensland LNP MP Ian Macfarlane has confirmed he will step down from federal politics after almost two decades service.

Mr Macfarlane confirmed in a statement yesterday he would not contest the next federal election due later this year for his seat of Groom.

He said he spent nine of his 18-years in federal parliament representing his electorate as a cabinet minister and minister under the Howard and Abbott governments and another six years as a shadow minister.

“The time is right to pass the baton,” he said.

“After 32 years in public life in agri-politics and politics, I will now be looking for new challenges to use my wealth of knowledge and experience in the resources, industry and science sectors for the betterment of our great nation.

“I am truly grateful for the opportunities to serve the nation over the years and greatly appreciate the support I have received from my family, my electorate and ministerial staff and members of the LNP.”

Mr Macfarlane was involved in a plot to join the National Party late last year after he was aggrieved at being left out of Malcolm Turnbull’s first ministry having served as Science and Industry Minister under Tony Abbott.

That move from the Liberal party room into the Nationals was approved by his Groom divisional council members 102 to 35 but was blocked by the LNP executive in mid-December.

At the time, Mr Macfarlane said he was disappointed with the executive’s decisions and would consider his options after speaking to family over the Christmas period.

He said he was not yet ready to retire from working and as a long-serving Resources Minister could pursue a future in that sector.

Mr Turnbull said his Liberal colleague, “always has his sleeves rolled up – this is his personal signature and also a metaphor for how he has gone about his work”.

“Ian’s hard working, practical and problem-solving approach has earned him respect across the resources sector,” the PM said.

“There are few if any Australians who better understand the public policy realms of industry, resources and science.

“Ian said in his Maiden speech that it was his ambition to turn Australia’s future challenges into opportunities and this is exactly what he has done.

“Ian has been and remains one of my closest friends in politics.

“His retirement from Parliament is the end of an era but I have no doubt he will go from strength to strength in a new stage of his career and continue to make a formidable contribution to our nation.”

Last week, Mr Macfarlane acknowledged the retirement of his friend and National Party leader and Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister Warren Truss

He said he’d known Mr Truss since the early 70’s when they were in Rural Youth together and later served together on the Queensland Grain Growers Association State Council.

“Warren and I were both born in the town of Kingaroy and throughout his long career in politics he has been a source of great wisdom, a staunch leader of the Nationals, as well as a tireless advocate for the bush, regional Australia and his constituents,” he said.

“I am grateful for Warren’s friendship and counsel over the decades, and wish him and his family all the best for the future.”

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