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‘There is no perfect time to leave politics, but this is the right time for me,’ Reynolds said.
Former Defence Minister and WA Liberal Senator Linda Reynolds has declared her decision to retire from politics in the upcoming election.
Ms. Reynolds announced on Facebook that she will not seek pre-selection for another term with the Liberal Party beyond June 2025.
“For forty years, I have proudly served my nation in the Army, in the Liberal Party, in the defence industry, in Parliament and in Government,” she said.
“It is rare in politics to have the opportunity to choose the time and circumstances of your departure, and my decision has been made after considerable reflection of what is behind me and the opportunities that are now ahead of me.”
Ms. Reynolds was elected to the Senate in 2014 before being re-elected in 2016 and 2019.
She was initially appointed to the cabinet by the Morrison government as Minister for Defence Industry in 2019, and later held various other ministerial roles.
She expressed pride in her achievements.
“Including as Defence Minister and Minister for Government Services and the NDIS,” she said.
“Particularly as it was during some of the most challenging times in our Nation’s recent history.”
On that note, she said the health of democracy should “never be taken for granted.”
“Neither can the health of political parties—both must be constantly renewed and strengthened.”
“Having achieved more than I set out to when I entered the Senate, there is no perfect time to leave politics, but this is the right time for me and for the WA Liberal Party to provide my successor with the same opportunities it has given me.”
Ms. Reynolds was criticised for her response to rape allegations by former staff member Brittany Higgins in her ministerial office in 2019.
Journalist Lisa Wilkinson told the Federal Court she thought Ms. Reynolds “covered up” the alleged incident.
Ms. Higgins criticised her former senator boss and her staff for not offering enough support.
Ms. Reynolds strongly denies any involvement in covering up the rape allegations and states that she has faced unjust criticism and abuse since the scandal emerged.
She sued Ms. Higgins and her partner for defamation over their social media posts about the allegations.
Senator Birmingham Praises Reynolds
Senate Opposition Leader Simon Birmingham was among the first Liberals to acknowledge Ms Reynolds’ choice not to run in the upcoming election, as he commended her multifaceted career.
“With a distinguished career spanning the military and political realms, Linda has built a track record of dedicated service, leadership, and advocacy,” he said.
He praised her more than 35 years of experience in the Australian Army.
“As a Reserve Officer, Linda became the first woman to attain the rank of Brigadier and brought this achievement to her service in the Parliament, promoting the participation of women in the defence force. It was fitting that Linda should go on to serve as Australia’s defence minister,” he said.
He mentioned that from her time in the Australian Army to her role as a Liberal senator for WA, she has been a “steadfast champion” for the nation’s “defence, national security, and the advancement of Australia.”
“She played a pivotal role in shaping Australian policy and representing our nation’s interests. Her legislative initiatives and tireless advocacy have helped shape policies that will endure for years to come,” he added.