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.

Nick Minchin at home, where he needs to be. Picture: Dylan Coker

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.

Most commented


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    • Kelly says:

      09:58pm | 24/03/10

      A really nice and thoughful article - Thanks Jamie!

      I have also very much liked and admired Nick over the years and I wish Nick and his family all the best.

    • Ernest Booner says:

      11:27pm | 24/03/10

      Good grief!  He’s not dead you know.

    • Marilyn says:

      01:10am | 25/03/10

      He might be a loss to the liberal party but not to anyone else.  I hope his son recovers quickly from what sounds like a dreadful accident but Minchin is nothing but a nasty bullying thug.

    • Wayne Fehlhaber says:

      08:08am | 25/03/10

      Marilyn , your comment indicates that Nick was an effective politician.

    • Madeleine says:

      09:47am | 25/03/10

      @Wayne. I don’t think Marilyn was denying that Minchin was an effective politician as she concedes that he ‘might be a loss to the Liberal Party’, but that doesn’t change the fact that he was a nasty bullying thug.

    • Wayne Fehlhaber says:

      10:59am | 25/03/10

      Madeleine , might that opinion be born from the fact that she is Labor oriented and you share the same dogma. ?

    • Robert Smissen of Rural SA says:

      04:23pm | 25/03/10

      Marilyn, Nick was a SOUTH AUSTRALIAN senator & worked tirelessly for the voters of that state, he got SA a large share of the defense contracts with the help of Alexander Downer, despite sniveling Mike claiming it was the state Labor parties handiwork

    • T.Chong says:

      04:52am | 25/03/10

      Getting off the SS Abbott before it hits the iceberg. No surprise.

    • Wayne Fehlhaber says:

      08:11am | 25/03/10

      T. Chong : no surprise to see your response either.

    • Robert Smissen of Rural SA says:

      04:26pm | 25/03/10

      T.Chong, right on cue with your bestie persephone tagging on behind. How predictable, how sad, not an original thought between them

    • Christian Real says:

      05:00pm | 25/03/10

      Wayne Fehlhaber, though I haven’t had much time for Nick Minchen, it is regretable that his son was injured in such a way,and at least Minchen is putting his family first.
      As for your friend Tony Abbott, he got lost in the outback, got lost in the Health Debate, and soon he will be lost in the political wilderness.

    • persephone says:

      06:30am | 25/03/10

      A week ago, Minchin renominated for the Senate.

      On Tuesday, Abbott’s performance in the debate made it clear that there’s not going to be a Federal Liberal government any time soon.

      On Wednesday, Minchin announced he would not renominate.

      If his son’s situation has anything to do with this, why isn’t he leaving politics now, instead of staying around until 2011?

    • iansand says:

      07:21am | 25/03/10

      Because the demands on a back bencher are significantly less than the demands on a shadow minister.  Minchin was a nasty factional warrior, but allow him some dignity in his passing.  For once the “family reasons” seem genuine and not the usual mealy mouthed euphemism for “some bad shit about me is about to hit the fan”.

    • Wayne Fehlhaber says:

      08:16am | 25/03/10

      persephone , your acerbic posts declare you an embittered hag , flying around on your broom , spreading your vile messages of hate , hate , hate, vomit .
      Incidently , have you been checking out the straw polls of public opinion on the health debate. ?

    • Darren says:

      08:57am | 25/03/10

      well spotted persephone - he does not want another 3 years in opposition - especially when Tony loses the next election and Minchin gets the blame for installing this intellectual lightweight

    • persephone says:

      07:37am | 25/03/10

      So surely the thing to do then is keep his nomination in the ring but make it clear he won’t be going on the front bench until his son recovers?

      Why resign at all?

      And Minchin himself has said that his son’s situation was only one of the factors in his decision.

    • Konseho says:

      08:22am | 25/03/10

      The ALP conspiracy is in full swing.  Typical ALP very typical. 
      KRudd and the ALP would surely claim Minchin as one of their ‘scalps’.

    • Robert Smissen of Rural SA says:

      04:30pm | 25/03/10

      Perhaps he is tired of working his guts out for the ungrateful & the unwashed. It will take a giant of person to even begin to fill his shoes. Doing the hard slog for the gimme, gimme, gimme types that permeate society today, happy to get something for nothing, but the idea of doing something for the “greater good” is so far removed from their psyche, that if somebody with ETHICS comes along, their tiny, tiny minds go into overdrive

    • Gotta be gone says:

      07:51am | 25/03/10

      Persephone, you’re almost always right on the money but here -rare though it is - you’ve gone a bit far, I’m afraid.  Minchin does represent all that is wrong with the Liberal Party but he’s gone for sound enough reasons. Leave it at that.

      Likewise, I’ve decided that The Punch, its appalling moderation and its appalling (saving you two,and maybe one other) posters and are not for me.

      So I’m going, with immediate effect. I’ll miss Persephone’s careful and accurate posts, in particular, and much of iansand and john neves.

      That’s all from me. Farewell, post fair, post civil, and check your facts.

    • Mark says:

      02:40pm | 25/03/10

      Awww. I will miss your bad maths. i will miss your posts full of fun and fiction.

      That is all.


    • Rob r Charteris says:

      08:00am | 25/03/10

      The key words here J Briggs uses is Hate, unfortunately the Liberal party is drunk on Hate for Labor and it does half show. People are getting sick of this hate come elitism we continually here from the Liberals. When a Labor member is asked a question they talk about what they’re doing. When Liberals are asked a question they cant wait in their answers to push negativity even going completely off topic (avoiding the answer) to do so. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn! time to turn off. All the best for Minchin son, but I truly believe dad is jumping ship before it goes down again.

    • Robert Smissen of Rural SA says:

      04:40pm | 25/03/10

      How quickly you forget the poisonous dribble that spewed from Labor whilst those long, long, long years in opposition. Start practicing guys you’ll be back their soon! ! !

    • Martin G says:

      08:11am | 25/03/10

      Thanks for representing my state, Senator Minchin, and thanks for standing up to the AGW scam.

      Also, thanks to Jamie Briggs for this article.

      I feel like I’m making an Oscar-winning speech.

    • bye bye says:

      08:23am | 25/03/10

      Good riddance to a rightwing luddite. History won’t be kind to his brand of ignorance.

    • Willy K says:

      11:41am | 25/03/10

      History already is kind to Minchin as he holds the record for longest serving Finance Minster and record continuous surpluses.  No one has done better.

      He was also one of the first to call out the AGW/ETS scam.

      Its people like you who history will remember as an unthinking dupe who bought the BS about AGW and the ETS money making scam.

      Nice own goal you mindless sheep.

    • John Ryan says:

      12:53pm | 25/03/10

      I would have thought that the mindless applies to your good self as well Willy K Minchin is getting out because the man he wanted in is not up to it and is a serial bully.
      He can see the writing on the wall

    • Father John Fleming says:

      08:46am | 25/03/10

      Thank you for so many charitable farewells for an outstanding Australian.  We are entitled to disagree with each other.  But it is always sad when people so personalise political disagreements that they have to demonise those whose views differ from their own and have been effective advocates for those views.  I know this man.  He is a fine human being, committed firstly, as he should be, to is wife and children.  He has achieved great things for Australia in his time as Minister.  Always a team player he has never put personal ambition ahead of the common good as he understands it be.  Politics won’t be half as interesting without him.

    • Wayne Fehlhaber says:

      08:57am | 25/03/10

      Senator Nick Minchin will be remembered as one of Australia’s most conscientous and hard working politicians. His service to his country is without blemish , his dedication to the the constituents of his home state was steadfast and he is to be commended for his honesty and integrity over the duration of his terms as a senator. The Liberal party salutes you Nick , best wishes to you and your family.

    • H of SA says:

      09:53am | 25/03/10

      Thanks for the service to parliament Mr. Minchin.

      However Jamie, you say its time for a new breed who can “believe just like Nick Minchin has”, considering his public statement that workchoices didn’t go far enough…...I sincerley hope for the sake of the nation and the sake of your party that Nick’s successor does not believe the same thing.

    • soultrader says:

      11:09am | 25/03/10

      @ persephone
      good to see the unbiased complimentary statements continue to flow from your left-wing,screwed up brain.
      Whether you like or dislike someone, unless you have some sort of relationship with them, like blogging to and fro, then your opinion counts for absolutely diddly squat.
      I didn’t know that HRH Rudd allows his staffers to spend all day every day bulls*&^ing on blog sites like this.
      Get a life dude

    • persephone says:

      09:43pm | 25/03/10

      You might note that my posts today are a long time apart, which is what happens when people work.

      And if my opinion counts for nothing, please feel free to ignore it.

    • Bertram B says:

      12:30pm | 25/03/10

      I bet Malcome Turnbull is glad hes going

    • Robert Smissen of Rural SA says:

      09:52pm | 25/03/10

      IT IS, M-A-L-C-O-M

    • Anti sledge says:

      11:42am | 29/03/10

      .No, it isn’t!

    • Darren says:

      12:31pm | 25/03/10

      sorry have re-read heading and agree - Nick is a loss to the Liberal Party - the reality is he will not be a loss to the Parliament or to public life

    • Tim says:

      01:02pm | 25/03/10

      Nick Minchin deliberately chose to fracture not just the Liberal Party but the Coalition with his performance on Four Corners regarding climate change.

      It is a fracture that will take a decade to heal and Tony’s “Great Big Tax” line and opposition to an ETS leaves the Libs without a credible climate change policy.

      This fracture exposed the seedy underbelly of the coaltion and provided a platform for tuckey, bernardi and abetz to present a foolish and unelectable face and damage the parties’ brands for many years.

      So Liberal Party supporters like myself should blame Minchin, not Tony, for the terrible performance to come in the upcoming election.

    • Wayne Fehlhaber says:

      01:13pm | 25/03/10

      Tim ,  ” So Liberal Party supporters like myself…..”
      Who do you think you are fooling. ? 
      Some respect , even from rusted on Labor donkeys , would be pleasant for a change.

    • Tim says:

      02:02pm | 25/03/10


      Do you really believe that the Liberal Party is better placed for the next and future elections as a result of Minchin’s machinations?

      It was Turnbull’s job to reach across the partisan divide. It was Minchin/Abbotts job to keep the conservatives in the tent while Malcolm reached across. Turnbull at least tried to do his job. Minchin rallied conservatives against his party.

      I respect Minchin’s service to the party over 30 years but his role of late had been ill-considered.

    • Mark says:

      02:38pm | 25/03/10

      The Climate Change Is A Lie.

      Hence we need no solution. See how many billions Nick just saved us.

      Hope your son is Ok Nick. Best of luck.

    • Tim says:

      03:28pm | 25/03/10

      Good one Mark,

      all those guys in cardigans with massive brains and 10,000 of thousands of hours of research under the belts are part of a vast conspiracy to trick the world. And you know better…

      I like your selective valuing of science.
      Air-travel OK
      Medicine OK
      Climate Change- Rubbish

      Or are you one of the guys who think man didn’t land on the moon? Any other conspiracy theories you like?

      hmmm. Look out, theres someone on the grassy knoll!

    • Barry says:

      01:49pm | 25/03/10

      ‘Nick very rarely lost’...yet you say he was passionate about smaller government and voluntary voting.  Sounds like two very big losses right there.  Howard went backwards on both.

    • Anti sledge says:

      08:14pm | 26/03/10

      Sorry to hear GB’s gone, his stuff was pretty impressive. Looking at the mega-billions blunder and GBs odd link, made me think, did he misread or what? So I done a quick google and guess what….

      Greenwood’s mistake (one and a quarter billion a month = 154 billion a year) had already popped up all over the bloody place. Heaps of places.

      “we - as taxpayers - will be repaying $154 billion in interest and principal every year”
      “we - as taxpayers - will be repaying $154 billion in interest and principal every year”
      (comments) “we - as taxpayers - will be repaying $154 billion in interest and principal every year”
      “we - as taxpayers - will be repaying $154 billion in interest and principal every year”
      “we - as taxpayers - will be repaying $154 billion in interest and principal every year “

      And icing on the cake - “Forums :: Senator Steve Fielding”! ROFL!
      “we - as taxpayers - will be repaying $154 billion in interest and principal every year “

      Well, that’s how they look /tonite/, any way!

      Poor old Ross Greenwood eh. Thats a mega blooper, in any money! Not 154 billion mate, just 15 billion.

      And poor old Tim! And poor old “Maths whizz” Mark. Guess he’ll try to make out it don’t matter. Yeah, sure, mate! Sledge away, sonny!  How many big toes can ya spare?

      What a hoot!

    • Russ says:

      01:07pm | 29/03/10

      I don’t think anyone can argue with Minchin’s abilities, just his judgement. After twice knee-cappin Malcolm, he installed as leader a man to the right of Howard. Hardly the best way to reach out to the undecideds. And then he quits (for good reasons admittedly) depriving the front bench of what little talent it has left after the departure of Howard, Costello, Downer, Nelson, Turnbull, et al.


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