THE CANBERRA rumour mill is in overdrive this morning with reports Gold Coast MP Steven Ciobo is set to become the latest Morrison government cabinet minister to retire from politics ahead of the federal election.
Mr Ciobo and his department are refusing to confirm of deny the claims, only saying that he was the pre-selected candidate for Moncrieff, a seat he has held for the last 18 years.
His electorate is considered a safe seat for the Liberals, sitting on a margin of 14.6 per cent.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
The ABC is reporting Ciobo’s departure could force a major reshuffle of the Queensland candidates, with talk Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton could try to swap from his ultra-marginal electorate in Brisbane’s north-west into the more comfortable Gold Coast seat.
Despite the reports, Ciobo took to Twitter this morning to confirm he would be travelling to Indonesia next week for the signing of the free-trade agreement with Australia, a deal he was instrumental in securing while he was trade minister under former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Looking forward to travelling to Indonesia with @Birmo for the signing of IA-CEPA – a trade deal that will drive economic growth & jobs
— Steven Ciobo (@StevenCiobo) February 28, 2019
Mr Ciobo isn’t the only minister whose future is yet to be set in stone, with claims Defence Minister Christopher Pyne is also questioning whether he wants to continue his lengthy political career.
The leader of the House was first elected in 1993 and holds his South Australian seat of Sturt on 5.4 per cent.
If they do retire, it could spell disaster for Prime Minister Scott Morrison ahead of the federal election after already losing Jobs Minister Kelly O’Dwyer and Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion, who both announced they would leave politics earlier this year.
Human Services Minister Michael Keenan also announced earlier this year he would be quitting politics in May.