TONY Windsor cited the health condition of another MP as a reason to resign after this week announcing his decision to not contest the next federal election.
On an eventful day in Canberra on Wednesday, which ended with Kevin Rudd defeating Julia Gillard in a leadership ballot to become prime minister again, Mr Windsor announced he would end his 22-year political career at the next federal election.
Another MP bowing out is Liberal Member for Hume, Alby Schultz, who is battling cancer. He made his valedictory speech to the House of Representatives on Tuesday after representing the southern NSW electorate of Hume for 15 years.
Prior to that he was the State Member for Burrinjuck, giving his political career a 34-year span.
On Wednesday Mr Windsor gave his valedictory speech to the House after a career in both state and federal politics.
“Alby Schultz and I have been good mates for 22 years,” Mr Windsor said.
“We’ve had some dust-ups over the years and some great fun, but he only ran in 2010 to keep the Nationals out of the seat.
“I had a meeting with him a couple of times and said ‘Alby don’t do it, don’t do it, you know you’re doing for the wrong reasons. Get out, go and enjoy yourself’.
“Now he’s full of cancer. He spoke very well, but I’ve been thinking about him for weeks, and I though, aw, jees.”
Mr Schultz’s hatred for the Nationals is almost legendary within political circles, however he did confirm his friendship with Mr Windsor during his speech.
“I won by one vote with the assistance of the Independent sitting there, my old mate Tony Windsor, and the Labor members of the committee,” Mr Schultz told the House.
Mr Windsor said that was the main reason he made the point about the job not being everything.
“I love the job, but I don’t want to love it until death,” he said.
“I think it’s the best time to get out when you’re running at 100 miles an hour, rather than sitting there waiting for the day to come along when you’re going to retire. If I ran again it would definitely be my last term.
“I’ve never been in politics just to be around for the sake of it.”
Mr Windsor said his decision to retire had nothing to do with Rob Oakeshott’s decision to do the same.
“I said to him on Monday I wanted to have a yarn to him on Tuesday,” Mr Windsor said.
“A bit after lunch on Tuesday I got in touch with him and said ‘let’s go for a walk, I’ve got something I want to talk to you about’.
“I mentioned it to him and told him I was going make an announcement and he said ‘You bugger, I’m doing the same thing!’ and I’m pleased for him too, a young family and whatever, he’s worked extraordinarily hard.”
Mr Windsor said his decision was not based on any concerns he may lose the coming election.
“Quite the opposite. I don’t want to get into the politics of people or anything, but we’ve been doing a bit of polling over the time and I’ve been privy to a number of polls here and there. I think I would have won the seat, but I’m not interested in standing just to win the seat,” Mr Windsor said.
Mr Windsor said the last three years had been an extraordinary experience.
“I’ve loved it. I wouldn’t have missed it for quids,” Mr Windsor said.
Family, health and a lack of desire to be in the Parliament in three year’s time were the other factors Mr Windsor gave on Wednesday for his decision.