Former SA premier Jay Weatherill announces retirement from politics
Former Labor South Australian premier Jay Weatherill will retire from state politics.
- Jay Weatherill has announced his retirement from politics in Parliament today
- He was first elected in 2002 and became premier in 2011
- During his speech he thanked the Labor party and his family
During his announcement in Parliament today, Mr Weatherill thanked the Labor party and described how proud he was to have led a state government.
“As I often say, this is the first place in the world that elected a majority Labor government in this very chamber,” he said.
“It’s a proud tradition and so when you’re asked to represent a part of that significance and of great contemporary success, it is an extraordinary privilege.”
Mr Weatherill also thanked his constituents, his team and driver who he described as “like a grandfather” to his children.
“You are standing on the shoulders of giants, you are standing on the platform that’s been created, in our case, of people that have been creating Labor governments since the 1890s,” he said.
His wife Melissa and two daughters were in Parliament to watch his retirement speech, and he thanked them for their support.
“Sometimes you can be around and not really be around because you’ve got other things on your mind and that’s one of the sacrifices families make,” he said.
“I don’t know how you can be sustained in politics without the love of a family.
“It’s important when you go home, and the world looks like it’s crashing down around you, to be able to talk to someone who is actually on your side.”
Jay Weatherill described how proud he was to have led the Labor party during his retirement speech in Parliament today. (ABC News)
He described the challenges he faced when he took over the leadership, particularly during the cancellation of the Olympic Dam mine expansion, the global financial crisis and the closure of the Holden factory.
“We decided to very assertively tackle these challenges and I think we should be proud as a state,” he said.
Mr Weatherill said the government stood firm and went ahead with infrastructure projects despite drops in revenue, and said the state now found itself in a much better position.
“When we have faced these challenges, it really represents the strength and resilience of the state and I’m very proud,” he said.
Mr Weatherill also spoke about how his government held firm on its commitment to renewable energy, at a time it was being challenged.
He said the state was now seen not just as a national leader in the sector, but a global one.
More than 15 years in Parliament
He has sat on the Opposition backbench since Labor’s defeat at the March election.
The announcement could pave the way for a by-election in his western suburbs seat of Cheltenham.
The former lawyer was first elected in 2002 and was directly appointed to premier Mike Rann’s cabinet.
He replaced Mr Rann as premier in 2011.
In 2014 he took Labor to an unlikely election victory by securing the support of independent MP Geoff Brock and recruiting former Liberal leader Martin Hamilton-Smith to his cabinet.
However, Labor was unable to repeat its 2014 election win this year, with a major electoral boundary redistribution assisting the Liberals to victory under leader Steven Marshall.
The former premier caused a stir on a national scale after a public tirade against then energy minister Josh Frydenberg during a press conference in 2017.
“It’s a disgrace the way in which your Government has treated our state,” he said.
He most recently made headlines when he fell and broke his leg during a hike in Mount Remarkable National Park earlier this year.