EXCLUSIVE: TWELVE months after his return to Parliament in the Miranda by-election, Barry Collier has decided to retire again.
In a bombshell announcement, the Labor veteran said he had decided not to stand at the state election in March next year for family reasons.
‘‘Looking at my grandchildren’s young faces, reflecting on the fact that state politics is a 24/7 commitment over four years, and thinking it over, I decided it was time for me to spend more time with wife and my family,’’ he said.
Mr Collier rejected any comparison with the sudden exit of his Liberal predecessor Graham Annesley, which led to a record 27 per cent swing against the government in the by-election.
He said the circumstances were ‘‘completely different’’.
‘‘The idea that I’m ‘doing an Annesley’ is just plain ridiculous,’’ he said. ‘‘I didn’t cut and run halfway through my first term.
‘‘Rather I came back and completed the remainder of this term for people of the same community I had represented for 12 years.’’
Mr Collier said, when he asked voters to return him to Parliament, he had not thought about how long he might serve.
‘‘I was focused on the by-election,’’ he said. Mr Collier said he knew the decision, made while on a recent family holiday,would disappoint supporters.
‘‘But I know, in my own heart, it’s now time for me to move on and spend more time with my family,” he said.
“I know, too, there will be those who say that, given the historical [by-election] swing, I have an obligation to continue on in Parliament beyond 2015.’’
Mr Collier asked people to remember the ‘‘extraordinary combination of events’’ that led to his return, including Mr Annesley’s resignation, council corruption allegations and a ‘‘loud community outcry against overdevelopment’’.
He said his achievements included clearing a backlog of resident concerns, persuading the government to extend the terms of reference for a planning inquiry, applying pressure over fire station closures and initiating action to control the Kareela flying fox colony.
Mr Collier said last year, at the age of 63, he was not too old to make a political comeback.
He said he felt ‘‘refreshed and reinvigorated’’ and had more goals he wanted to achieve for the electorate.
Mr Collier said, when he told his granddaughter, Taylah, 8 of his comeback plans, she had said, ‘‘Go for it, Pop!’’.
Mr Collier was promoted to the Opposition front bench soon after his return but, within a short time, gave up his shadow ministerial role to concentrate on his electorate.
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