Queensland MP George Christensen will retire at the next federal election, ending his controversial political career in Canberra.
Nationals Leader Michael McCormack confirmed on Thursday night that Mr Christensen had decided not to recontest his seat of Dawson.
He described the Liberal National Party MP as a “tireless fighter” and “true local champion” who had worked hard to ensure the views of his community were heard in the corridors of Canberra.
“George’s decision to step back, spend time with family and pursue a career after politics is one that he has not taken casually,” the Deputy Prime Minister said in a statement.
“Giving up the opportunity to serve his community at the end of this term of the Parliament has been an incredibly tough decision for George to take and I respect him for doing so in the professional way he has.”
It follows Queensland’s LNP blocking embattled federal MP Andrew Laming from recontesting the Brisbane seat of Bowman on April 12 after he failed to officially withdraw his preselection nomination following harassment allegations.
Into his fourth term, Mr Christensen said he had only intended to stay in Parliament for three stints and cited Australia’s “broken” politics as other factors for standing down.
“I will have more to say about this down the track,” Mr Christensen said in a statement to the Courier Mail.
“While I’m in Parliament until the next election and while there’s still breath in me, I’m going to continue speaking out on the issues that matter, without fear or favour, or the need to get re-elected.”
The Mackay-based politician was first elected to federal Parliament in 2010 after spending six years in local council.
He came under fire for spending 294 days in the Philippines between 2014 and 2018 and referred himself to the expenses watchdog after questions were raised about taxpayer-funded domestic travel being used to link up with overseas flights to the South-East Asian nation.
He was forced to repay $327.28 including a 25 per cent penalty for misusing entitlements and voluntarily repaid a further $1843.16 for domestic airfares and luxury cars.
Mr Christensen also courted controversy in early 2018, refusing to apologise for a Facebook post showing him pointing a gun alongside the comment: “You gotta ask yourself, do you feel lucky, greenie punks?”
The LNP held Dawson with a 14.6 per cent margin at the 2019 election, with the seat now set to undergo a preselection process.
Dawson slipped into Labor hands for the first and only time in its 70-year history in 2007 when James Bidgood upset sitting Nationals MP De-Anne Kelly.