Morrison Government frontbencher and Gold Coast MP Steven Ciobo has confirmed speculation he will retire from Federal politics.
Rumours had been swirling for several days that Mr Ciobo was about to pull the pin on his political career after 17 years in Parliament.
This afternoon, the Defence Industry Minister confirmed the news to The Australian newspaper.
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“After 17 years in parliament, I have taken the decision that it’s time to move on to something else,” Mr Ciobo told The Australian.
“I’ve always said that politics is a means not an end,” Mr Ciobo said.
“I have had the extraordinary privilege of serving my country as Trade Minister and the contribution I got to make, in particular with the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Indonesian Free Trade agreement.
“But now is the time to do something else.”
According to Newscorp, Mr Ciobo told Prime Minister Scott Morrison of his intentions two weeks ago.
Mr Ciobo was first elected to the safe Gold Coast seat of Moncrief in 2001.
It is the LNP’s second safest seat in Queensland with a margin of 14.61 per cent.
Mr Ciobo was appointed as Minister for International Development and the Pacific in 2015 after supporting Malcolm Turnbull in the leadership spill against Tony Abbott.
He became Trade Minister in 2016 following the retirement of Andrew Robb.
Mr Ciobo stood down as Trade Minister after he supported Peter Dutton in the leadership spill against Mr Turnbull last year.
He also ran for the position of Deputy Liberal Leader but was defeated by Josh Frydenberg.
He was then appointed as Defence Industry Minister by new Prime Minister Scott Morrison which was largely seen as a demotion for his role in backing Mr Dutton.
There’s now speculation Mr Ciobo could be given an overseas posting given his experience as Trade Minister.
He and wife Astra also sold their Surfers Paradise home in January.
At the time he said he was still looking for the right property but it now appears overseas could be calling.
There was also speculation today that Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton may try to shift to Mr Ciobo’s safe Gold Coast seat as he battles to hang onto his marginal Brisbane seat of Dickson.
He has previously tried to make a move to the Gold Coast seat of Macpherson.
But Mr Dutton has told the Financial Review that he will not be moving down the M1.
Defence Minister Christopher Pyne is also set to announce this weekend that he will retire from politics after 25 years.
The resignations follow that of former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Jobs Minister Kelly O’Dwyer, Human Services Minister Michael Keenan and Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion.