Politics is an all-consuming endeavour. It’s a job which often demands an unhealthy measure of emotional and mental commitment.
As politicians, we are notoriously bad at appreciating when considerations for our own well-being demand that we stop and find something else to do with our lives. I’d like to think I’m not one of them.
So after 16 years as the Member for Western Metropolitan, Lyndhurst and Keysborough, I’ve indicated to the Premier that I don’t intend to contest the 2022 State Election. Consequently, I will leave the Ministry as soon as the Premier settles on the team he wishes to take to the election.
A career in public life necessarily involves owing thanks to thousands of people. For me that includes the beautiful people of Keysborough, Springvale, Springvale South, Noble Park, Dingley and Waterways. It includes my Cabinet and Caucus colleagues, my staff and my family.
But there are a few people who I must mention specifically.
Steve Bracks who gave me my first job as a Parliamentary Secretary and without whose support I would not have been elected to Parliament.
John Brumby who entrusted me with my first ministerial portfolios including Industrial Relations and Public Transport.
Dan Andrews who has led, and continues to lead, a government of consequence, bravery, compassion and delivery. Dan has honoured me by allowing me to serve as Attorney-General, to oversee my beloved racing industry, and to support the business, tourism, sporting and events sectors through the worst of the pandemic.
Tim Holding, my friend and predecessor in the electorate of Lyndhurst.
Tim Pallas and Jaala Pulford – my old comrades from the NUW who have been my work constants for nearly 30 years.
Ann Barker. I had the privilege of taking through the parliament the laws which properly recognised the rights of victims of institutional abuse. Put simply, those laws would never have made it that far without Ann’s passion or her doggedness.
Greg Sword who, more than anyone, imbued in me the values of the labour movement. Walking into his office in 1993 was the luckiest day of my working life.
Shane Lucas, Adrian Browne and Christine Tyrrell – the three exceptional people that have looked after me as my Chiefs of Staff.
My wife Lisa, my kids Ben and Eva, my late father Lou, my mother Adele and my sisters Rita and Tammy. Politicians volunteer for this life but our families are conscripts. Without their support and forbearance, none of us would be able to do the things we do.
I want to end by wishing Dan, his team and the entire Labor family every success in the 2022 election and beyond.
A decade in the Ministry has taught me that a government with big ambitions for the state, its people and its future is something to be cherished.
It’s certainly not something I have ever taken for granted, and if the rest of my working life is half as rewarding as this chapter has been, I will consider myself truly fortunate.
Thank you and farewell.
Reviewed 23 June 2022