Robyn Parker will bow out of politics at the next state election and will not re-contest the seat of Maitland.
She told the Mercury last night that she would leave parliament with her head held high – the way she entered the political arena 12 years ago.
Mrs Parker was one of the few Hunter MPs who came through the recent Independent Commission Against Corruption hearings unscathed, with many of her colleagues falling on their swords.
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She said she had been contemplating a career change for a few months but wanted to announce her impending departure from politics with enough time for the Liberal party to find a replacement candidate for the March election.
“I don’t have the motivation for another full four years and I don’t want to cause a by-election,” Mrs Parker said.
“I have worked very hard. I achieved what I wanted to achieve and I delivered good results.”
It was widely reported during the corruption hearings that Mrs Parker was seen as an outsider by many of her colleagues who were subsequently found to be corrupt.
She acknowledged it had been “a tough time in the Hunter” and the strain had taken its toll.
“I went into politics with my integrity in place and that’s how I’ll leave it,” Mrs Parker said.
“The ICAC hearings were very sad for us all. I think people do things for the right motives but sometimes they make mistakes.
“We all go into politics to make a difference and I feel I’ve made a difference.”
In a statement released last night, she thanked her husband and children for their love and support.
“My three children, Dylan, Chelsea and Heath have grown up during my time in public life,” Mrs Parker said.
“They are brilliant and confident young adults making their own mark on the world and I couldn’t be a prouder mum.
“My husband, David, has been my greatest supporter and I can never thank him enough for his constant love, motivation and guidance.”
Mrs Parker said she would bow out of politics reflecting with pride on her achievements.
Since entering parliament in 2003, she has spent eight years in the upper house, four years in the lower house and three years in cabinet as Environment and Heritage Minister.
She was also the first female member for Maitland.
“Even more satisfying in some ways have been the changes I have been able to make to the lives of individuals - changes that don’t make the headlines but which do make a difference,” she said. “It has been a privilege and delight to work with so many members of the community, including volunteer groups, elected representatives and business leaders.”
Mrs Parker said she would continue as Maitland MP until March before taking a different career path.
“I’m open to all sorts of suggestions and new experiences,” she said.
“I still feel I have more to give.”
- $45million for New England Highway roundabout improvements
- $20million for a new public hospital for Maitland with site selection confirmed and planning well under way
- New Hunter River Community School built at Metford
- $2million refurbishment of Maitland Hospital Mental Health Unit
- $2million for Maitland’s Regional Civic & Cultural hub
- $5.6million for Maitland Sportsground
- $15million for upgrade to Rutherford Technology High School
- $700,000 for community organisations for Community Building Partnerships Projects
- The establishment of the EPA as an independent regulator with some of the toughest environmental laws in Australia;
- The establishment of nine new parks and reserves (including two National Parks);
- Ground breaking approaches to threatened species legislation and management;
- Record visitation to the State’s national parks and gardens;
- A transformation in the way NSW deals with its waste and recycling;
- Creating the most comprehensive air quality network in Australia
- Securing the International World Parks Congress for Sydney in November 2014
- Supporting Taronga Zoo’s conservation program
- Introducing legislation banning solaria, making NSW the second in the world to do so, a lead other states have followed
- Providing increased funding for community, local government, not for profit and aboriginal heritage projects throughout New South Wales
- APRIL 22: Look back at Maitland MP Robyn Parker's better days
- APRIL 22: Maitland MP Robyn Parker speaks after being dumped from cabinet
- APRIL 22: Gritty Parker sets new goal
- APRIL 24: Maitland MP Robyn Parker has the full support of Liberal Party
- JUNE 24: Parker takes fight against bullying to the public
- JULY 7: Maitland MP: comments violent and offensive
- JULY 9: MP Robyn Parker shows class, says Baird
- AUGUST 17: Maitland MP: I was always confident