Prime Minister Scott Morrison has knocked back calls from former politician Jeff Kennett to oust older MPs to make way for the next, younger, generation of politicians.
The former Premier of Victoria had called for politicians such as Julie Bishop and Kevin Andrews to step down, claiming both had served the country well but had reached a point where they should consider their future in parliament.
Speaking out in response to the 70-year-old’s suggestions, Morrison said on Monday that while some new blood in parliament is a smart idea, you can’t go past experience.
“You need youth, you need talent but you also need experience,” he told host Ben Fordham. “Everyone’s got a role to play. It doesn’t matter whether you’re older or you’re younger or you’re male or you’re female. All this identity politics, frankly, is getting a bit tiring.”
The prime minister added that he would love to see Bishop continue as a politician after speculation she would resign from her Perth seat of Curtin following her crushing defeat in last year’s leadership spill.
“I’d love Julie to continue to remain, but if she wants to do something else that’s up to her,” he said on the radio program.
According to Kennett, both Bishop and Andrews should farewell politics, claiming it’s time to welcome a new team of politicians to the party.
“In Julie Bishop’s case, she’d indicated she didn’t want to serve on the front bench and I’ve taken that as an indicator to leave, that she will be getting out at the next election,” he told the national broadcaster.
“I’d say the same for Mr Andrews in his seat down in Victoria. He’s served his community well, the parliament well, he’s been minister. It’s unlikely that he’ll return to ministerial ranks.”
Kennett went on to say both politicians have had the opportunity to represent Australia but they now have an obligation to consider their future and the interest of the party.
When asked about the loss of experience in politics he replied: “On that basis, you’d never change anyone, you’d leave them all serving until death do us part. Now that’s not a viable solution, you do have to manage succession both in terms of your back bench as well as your front bench.”