Liberal Senator Marise Payne has announced her retirement from federal politics after 26 years of service and will officially end her tenure on Sept. 30.
Sen. Payne hailed from Western Sydney and was first appointed to the Senate in 1997, holding several positions in cabinet.
She served as foreign minister and minister for women under the Morrison government and oversaw the government’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
During her role as foreign minister, Sen. Payne remained firm on the government’s position on Beijing and called for stability in the Indo-Pacific, free and open trade, human rights, and the welfare of Australians detained in China. She also called out Beijing’s security pact with the Solomon Islands, and pushed for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
The Senator also oversaw the adoption of Magnitsky-style sanctions, the opening of six new Australian missions that are part of the Pacific Step-Up, the strengthening of the Quad working group, and the establishment of AUKUS.
Sen. Payne became the first woman to be appointed as Australia’s Minister for Defence in September 2015 and was the second woman to serve as Minister for Foreign Affairs in August 2018.
“I could not have imagined what was ahead of me in my Senate career when I began.
“To have had the privilege to have served as long as I have, and in the process to have become Australia’s longest serving female Senator in history, is something of which I am very proud.”
Opposition Senate Leader Simon Birmingham thanked Sen. Payne for her contribution and service to the Liberal Party.
@MarisePayne will depart the Australian Senate having created history & made a powerful contribution of lasting benefit to 🇦🇺.
A Liberal Senator for NSW since 1997, Marise is the longest serving woman in the history of the Senate & the 21st longest serving senator in 🇦🇺 history. pic.twitter.com/3UH2tkFxaJ
“Again and again, Marise has shown her respect for the institution of the senate, the primacy of the parliament and the unique role of each parliamentarian.
“Marise has, right from her days as the first ever woman to be elected as federal president of the Young Liberal Movement in 1989, shown a grit and determination to push through barriers while applying a sharp intellect but never losing a caring and considerate instinct for all around her.”
Deputy Liberal Party leader Sussan Ley said Sen. Payne was a “dear friend” and “trailblazer” for the Liberal cause.
“Her path in public life is historic. While she will be truly missed she has earned whatever comes next.”