The Morrison Government has lost two more of its ministers in the lead up to the election with both Christopher Pyne and Steve Ciobo announcing their decision to resign from politics.
The Defence Minister and the Defence Industry Minister confirmed they will be stepping down from their positions for good after speculation emerged of their departure on Friday.
In a statement issued on Saturday morning Pyne said after 27 years since he was preselected as the Liberal candidate it is time to farewell politics.
He explained he is confident that he is leaving his seat in good shape and that the Liberal Party will retain Sturt in the upcoming election.
“I have every confidence that the prime minister will lead the Coalition to victory when the election is held in May,” he said in the statement. “At 51, I still have the opportunity to have a second career beyond politics.”
The politician went on to thank the Liberal Party, those in Sturt and his family for their support over the years describing them as a “wonderful group of people”.
“The Liberal Party in South Australia and nationally can be a rambunctious party at times, but I believe in the party, and always will,” he continued.
“Thank you to my beautiful family – my wife Carolyn, my children Eleanor, Barnaby, Felix and Aurelia as well as my extended family. We are a close network of supportive people. My family have been with me every step of my political career. I volunteered but they were conscripted yet they supported me willingly and graciously.”
His announcement followed news from Ciobo that he too will be departing politics. Speaking to The Australian in an exclusive interview, the 44-year-old MP claimed after 17 years in parliament, it was time to move on.
“I’ve been speaking with the PM for some time… my decision not to recontest wasn’t decided by the events of last year,” he explained to The Australian.
“But now is the time to do something else. I’ve always said I’m not going to be a time server.”
Pyne and Ciobo’s departure from politics bring the total of number resignations from the party in the past few months to six. Just weeks ago, Julie Bishop announced she would not be recontesting her seat of Curtin, in Western Australia, at the upcoming federal election, which is expected to be set for May 11 or 18.
Prior to that Liberal Minister Michael Keenan, Nationals senator Nigel Scullion and Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations Kelly O’Dwyer also announced their resignations.