News National Labor frontbencher Kate Ellis to quit politics at next election

Labor frontbencher Kate Ellis to quit politics at next election

kate ellis
Ms Ellis says she wants to spend more time with her family. Photo: AAP
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Labor frontbencher Kate Ellis will quit federal politics at the next federal election to spend more time with her family.

The South Australia will step down as Labor’s spokeswoman for Early Childhood and Development in the near future.

Ms Ellis has served as the Member for Adelaide since October 2004 and previously served as the minister for sport and the minister for employment participation.

In a letter to constituents, Ms Ellis said that she loved her job but made the “hard decision” to step down for her family.

“Representing the Adelaide community is one of the most humbling, inspiring and rewarding privileges that I could imagine,” she said.

“This has been a really hard decision … It is a decision that I have made for only one simple reason.

“Whilst my son can travel with me as a baby, during the next term of parliament he will start school and need to stay in Adelaide. The simple truth is that I just cannot bear the thought of spending at least 20 weeks of every year in Canberra away from him.”

Ms Ellis said she would wait until the election to step down, saying she had “no intention of causing a by-election”.

“I absolutely intend to represent the people of Adelaide to the best of my ability for the months and years until the next federal election,” she said.
The announcement comes amid an ongoing battle over child care and paid parental leave, issues which fall under Ms Ellis’ shadow portfolio.

The Coalition last month introduced its so-called omnibus bill, which includes increases to childcare subsidies, and cuts to family tax benefits and paid parental leave.

Labor has voted against the bill, with Ms Ellis citing the need to defend “the Indigenous and regional mobile childcare services that will face closure” under the bill.

‘A trusted advisor and true friend’

In a statement, Labor leader Bill Shorten praised Ms Ellis for her 13 years of “outstanding parliamentary service”.

Mr Shorten said he would be sad to see her go, but respected her decision to prioritise her family.

“Kate has been a trusted advisor and a true friend,” he said.

“As a person and a representative, she is someone for whom I have the highest respect … it has been a privilege to work alongside Kate and to call her a friend.”

Ms Ellis was the youngest woman elected to the House of Representatives, and used her first speech in November 2004 to address claims she was “young and idealistic”.

“To this, I plead guilty as charged,” she said at the time.

“My only hope is that one day I will be old and idealistic and be able to look back on my time in this place and think that, through hard work for the people of Adelaide, I managed to make a contribution that went some way towards seeing a long-term vision for our nation become closer to a reality.”