NSW Transport and Highways Minister Andrew Constance announced he would leave the ministry this week and step out of state politics at the end of the parliamentary session to take a tilt at the federal seat in Gilmore.
Bega MP said it was heartbreaking to see what happened to Gladys Berejiklian – “one of the most incredible prime ministers the state has ever had” and a 25-year-old friend – but with her resignation , the change has happened.
“For me, I am a part of this change and I want to indicate, after months of speculation, that I will be nominating my name for the local Liberal branch’s shortlist for the federal seat in Gilmore to move to the Federal Parliament,” , said Constance.
“As a result, this week, I will resign from my post as Minister of Transport and Roads after 10 and a half years as Minister of State in roles ranging from Treasury to Finance, obviously including Transport, Infrastructure and Roads. “
Speaking to the media at Malua Bay Beach, Mr. Constance said one of the most important roles he had held during this time was that of Minister of Disability Services and that he was very proud of his role. in defense of the national invalidity insurance scheme.
He said stepping down from his role as Member State would be “a huge challenge and a life changing for me”.
“But after 20 years of service as a Member State, I know how important this time is for our community and it is for this reason that I will remain as MP for Bega until the end of the session. Parliament, when we hopefully start to see our communities come out of lockdown and return, as best we can, to normal. ”
Mr. Constance paid tribute to the local community and their resilience in the face of bushfires, drought and pandemic.
Asked about the current vacuum of the liberal leadership, Mr. Constance urged his colleagues to “park the self-interest and put the community first”.
“Fix yourself (management) this afternoon and make sure you’re back to work tomorrow,” he said.
READ ALSO: Andrew Constance says climate change is responsible for extreme bushfires
Gilmore was held by the Liberals for more than 20 years until the last election, when Labor Fiona Phillips won her in a contest against Warren Mundine. The Liberal Party, and the Prime Minister in particular, have been criticized for parachuting Mr. Mundine into the role of candidate.
Mr Constance said he respects the role of local branches and said he will speak to the Gilmore branch and explain why he should be their representative.
“I still have a burning desire to do good in the community,” he said. “I would bring every ounce of experience I have to the role.”
Asked about his high-profile criticism of Scott Morrison during the Black Summer bushfires, Mr Constance said he had a good working relationship with the PM, but warned he would be an “extremely independent person” in any federal role.