Nick Minchin is a great loss to the Liberal Party
With the announcement of Nick Minchin’s retirement the Liberal Party has lost not only a substantial figure but also one of our great warriors.
It is fair to say that Nick doesn’t like the Labor Party and nor do they like him.
There are few people in the Liberal Party’s history who have had a more significant role in the direction and fortunes of our great Party, particularly in South Australia. His loss will leave a major hole for the Liberal Party and our national Parliament.
His record as a Minister is second to none. He was Australia’s longest serving Finance Minister and unlike the current incumbent he managed to be part of the senior economic team that delivered surplus budgets, paid off debt and invested money to meet our future challenges. He realised, unlike Lindsay Tanner that the job of Finance Minister was to reduce government spending rather than increase it.
He was one of the key pillars of the Howard Government’s success. There were few people who were closer to or more influential on John Howard. Along with Alexander Downer, they were political soul mates who formed a small group that ran the Liberal Party during some of our most successful years.
Nick very rarely lost in politics. When he put his mind to a battle he inevitably won. He is a man of conviction and belief. Whether that was smaller government or voluntary voting, Nick pursued his beliefs with passion.
But for all he has achieved we are reminded that above all he is a husband and a father. Nick could have continued to contribute for many years to come. To his credit he has decided enough is enough.
There is no doubt in my mind the serious injury sustained by his son Olly two months ago has weighed heavily on him in this decision. We will never know whether he would have continued on if the accident had not occurred but Harold Macmillan’s famous description of what influenced his political career comes to mind - ‘events my boy, events.’
Federal politicians know the commitment we are making when we enter Parliament. We know we sacrifice for what we believe is right. Unfortunately the people who pay the largest price for this sacrifice are our families. Politicians don’t deserve sympathy but our families deserve understanding. Worst of all the more you achieve in politics the harder this makes it. A higher public profile equals more demands on your time, more travel and even less time for your family. The job is exhilarating but it makes an impact that is hard to describe or understand. At some stage the merry go round has to stop.
Personally I will miss Nick Minchin. He has been someone I have admired and sought much advice from. I’m sure at times he would have wished that I had followed that advice more carefully. Importantly with Nick, you always know where you stand.
Nick’s decision reminds us all of our political mortality. Until about 12pm yesterday I hadn’t contemplated a Parliamentary world without Nick Minchin. His loss will hurt our cause. He will be hard to replace.
But the political sun will rise again tomorrow and with it a new dawn. At the new dawn will stand the next breed of Liberal Party politicians who can contribute just like Nick Minchin has, who can believe just like Nick Minchin has and who can contribute to making Australia’s future brighter – just like Nick Minchin has.
Thank you Nick.
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