The Libs lose yet another minister, their manager in the house and the dominant moderate in their party ranks. They're falling apart.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-02/ ... s/10864364
Defence Minister Christopher Pyne has announced his retirement from federal politics, adding to a swathe of senior Coalition ministers who will not recontest the federal election in May.
The rump of resignations presents a political headache for Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Coalition, which needs to win seats to stay in power after the poll.
There has been speculation about Mr Pyne's political future for weeks, but he has today said it was better to retire while people were asking him to stay, rather than telling him to go.
"Twenty-seven years ago I was preselected as the Liberal candidate on a platform of renewal – in 2019, it is time to renew again," Mr Pyne said in a statement.
"At 51, I still have the opportunity to have a second career beyond politics."
His retirement comes after Nigel Scullion, Steve Ciobo, Michael Keenan, Kelly O'Dwyer, and former foreign minister Julie Bishop announced their own departures.
Mr Pyne said he would move to the private sector after the election and start his own business.
"I had two years as a lawyer, some would say I was pretending to be a lawyer while I was campaigning for politics and I think there is some truth to that," he said.
"You've got to know when to go and it's nice to go when people are asking you to stay, rather than when they're trying to plot to remove you."
Mr Pyne said he told the Prime Minister about his decision on Tuesday, and he still believed the Coalition would win the election.
"I'm not leaving because I'm worried about going into opposition, I'm leaving because 26 years is a tremendous run," he said.
Resignation triggers reshuffle
The resignation of Defence Industry Minister Mr Ciobo will trigger a minor Cabinet reshuffle, with Liberal senator Linda Reynolds to take over his portfolio responsibilities.
Mr Pyne will remain as Defence Minister and Leader of the Government in the House of Representatives until the election.
If the Coalition wins the election, Senator Reynolds would take over from Mr Pyne as Defence Minister.
She will be sworn in at Government House in Canberra on Saturday morning.
"She's a very fine individual," Mr Pyne said.
"The wonderful thing about politics is there is always somebody behind you climbing the ladders who wants to replace you."
Ciobo 'contemplating retirement' for months
Mr Ciobo said he had been contemplating retirement for months and had spoken with the Prime Minister about it "for the last couple of weeks".
Mr Ciobo resigned as trade minister after supporting Peter Dutton in the Liberal leadership spill last year, but remained in Cabinet.
He told Sky News if he had been elected deputy leader of the party that may have prompted him to remain in Parliament.
"If I had become deputy leader then that would have ultimately altered things and I didn't want to die knowing, so I put my hand up," Mr Ciobo said.
"I am so grateful to those colleagues who supported me and even those who didn't, because ultimately everyone is in there trying to do the right thing.
"It's a tough business politics, but it's a business that's unlike anything else."