Long-time Liberal parliamentarian Bob Baldwin has announced his retirement from federal politics, saying he wants to allow fresh faces into the house.
After 17 years as an MP, Mr Baldwin says he will not recontest the NSW seat of Paterson at the next election.
“I have not come to the decision lightly and I feel it is time to move on with my life and allow others the opportunity to fulfil their dreams of entering parliament with fresh enthusiasm,” he said on Facebook on Saturday.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to represent the community over so many terms and feel I have left a legacy of many successful projects working in conjunction with the community and all levels of government.”
Mr Baldwin’s time in parliament has included stints as parliamentary secretary for industry, tourism, resources and environment and as shadow minister for defence, science and personnel, regional development and tourism.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the parliament was losing one of its true characters, whose highlights had included writing reforms to anti-dumping legislation and capping commonwealth water purchases in the Murray-Darling Basin at 1500 gigalitres.
He also acknowledged Mr Baldwin’s passion for cooking and his big office spreads.
“He’s never happier than wearing an apron and serving food to friends, except perhaps when fishing for what will grace the plates,” he said.
Mr Baldwin’s announcement came as Liberal Party preselectors were preparing to decide who will contest the NSW seats of Berowra and Mackellar, and the Victorian seat of Murray, at the next election.
The Mackellar decision will determine the political future of 73-year-old Bronwyn Bishop, who has held the blue ribbon seat for more than two decades.
In Berowra, Julian Leeser was selected following the retirement of veteran MP Philip Ruddock.
Murray has been vacated with the retirement of Sharman Stone.
Mr Baldwin will address local party members at a meeting on Saturday afternoon.