Two High-Profile Aussie Govt Minister to Quit Politics at Next Election

By Nina Nguyen
Nina Nguyen
Nina Nguyen
Nina Nguyen is a Vietnamese reporter based in Sydney and focuses on Australian news. Contact her at nina.nguyen@epochtimes.com.au.
December 1, 2021 Updated: December 1, 2021

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt is set to quit politics after 20 years in parliament, joining attorney-general Christian Porter in his retirement announcement.

Hunt has held one of the government’s most important roles as the nation contends with the COVID-19 pandemic, while Porter was once touted as a future Prime Minister.

Media reports on Wednesday speculated Hunt would use the last sitting week for the year to announce on Thursday he will not recontest his Victorian seat of Flinders at the next election despite having repeatedly said he would seek another term.

Epoch Times Photo
Health Minister Greg Hunt speaks as Prime Minister Scott Morrison looks on at the news conference at the CSL facility on February 12, 2021, in Melbourne, Australia. (Diego Fedele/Getty Images)

It came on the same day former attorney-general Christian Porter on Wednesday announced he had decided not to recontest his West Australian seat of Pearce, bemoaning the “harshness” that comes with elected office.

In a lengthy statement on his website and Facebook, Porter said “the only certainty now” in politics was 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,” he said. “But even though I have experienced perhaps more of the harshness of modern politics than most, there are no regrets.”

“I feel that not a moment of the last 14 years was wasted, and I am thankful for the opportunity and friendship provided by my Parliamentary colleagues and the men and women of the Liberal Party.”

The 51-year-old was embroiled in scandal for most of 2021 after the ABC published a story about a historical rape allegation against an unnamed cabinet minister earlier this year.

Porter identified himself in March as the subject of an allegation that, as a 17-year-old, he had sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl during a 1988 debating trip.

The MP has strenuously denied the allegations but was demoted from attorney-general to industry minister after settling a defamation case against the national broadcaster.

Epoch Times Photo
Attorney-General Christian Porter speaks during a media conference on March 03, 2021, in Perth, Australia. (Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The case was dropped in May after the ABC released a statement saying it did not intend to suggest Porter had committed the criminal offences alleged and that it regretted that “some readers misinterpreted the article as an accusation of guilt against Mr Porter.”

The scandal in September then sealed Porter’s parliamentary fate after it was revealed that anonymous donors paid for part of his legal fees.

The donation was made through a blind trust which meant the identity of the donor or donors was kept secret, including from Porter himself.

The MP said he had properly disclosed his interests in accordance with both the rules and the ministerial standards but decided to resign from the cabinet, explaining that he did not wish his case to become an “unhelpful distraction” for the government.

Porter said he wanted to spend more time out of politics with his family.

“When you are an obsessive-compulsive type and entrusted with work that you believe in and that you believe is deeply important, the by-product becomes that people in your life that deserve more from you, especially your family, get much less than they deserve,” he said.

“My little boy was born one day before I first became a commonwealth minister. He and his little sister have never known anything but their father’s regular absence.”

Nina Nguyen
Nina Nguyen is a Vietnamese reporter based in Sydney and focuses on Australian news. Contact her at nina.nguyen@epochtimes.com.au.