Industrial Relations Minister Kelly O’Dwyer has announced she’ll quit politics at the next election.
As just one of 12 women out of 60 Liberal MPs in federal parliament, her resignation adds to the party’s so-called “women-problem”.
Ms O’Dwyer, 42, said she is stepping away from politics to spend more time with her two children and would like to have a third child.
“With a heavy heart, I am announcing that I will not be recontesting for the seat of Higgins at the next election,” the member for the Victorian seat of Higgins said at a press conference alongside Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Saturday.
“I need to be honest that I can not commit to another three years and continue to deliver the quality of service that my country, my party and my community are entitled to expect.
“There have been too many by-elections of late and I have no intention of causing a by-election in the next parliament.
“The reasons are complex and … very personal,” she said adding that her two children, Olivia and Edward, will reach primary school age during the next parliament.
“I no longer want to consistently miss out on seeing my children when they wake up in the morning or go to bed at night and I want to know that when I am around, my time is not constantly disrupted.
“There is another very personal reason. Like so many other families, our journey to parenthood has not been straightforward,” adding that and her husband want to give themselves the best opportunity to have a third child.
“We need to be very realistic. I turned 42 this year and everything has to go right. This does not mean men or women have to choose between family and public service.”
Ms O’Dwyer thanked her community, Mr Morrison and former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, the Liberal Party and her family for their support.
“There is no one I know who has worked harder or achieved more than Kelly O’Dwyer,” said Mr Morrison.
“I support her choice. I support all women’s choices. I want women to have more choices and all the independence that comes with that.
Ms O’Dwyer was first elected to the seat in a by-election to replace former treasurer Peter Costello in 2009.
She became the first Cabinet minister to give birth while in office when she had her son Edward in April 2017.