Federal minister Arthur Sinodinos, one of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s closest political allies, has revealed he is fighting cancer.
The industry and innovation minister, who served as chief of staff to former prime minister John Howard, announced he was taking medical leave two weeks ago, not revealing the nature of his illness while requesting the media respect his privacy.
He has now told Fairfax media of his cancer battle and that his prognosis is very positive and treatable.
Mr Sinodinos said he has been receiving treatment for the past two weeks.
The senator did not indicate what type of cancer he had, but said he was revealing his condition to scotch speculation he may quit parliament.
“I am taking this period of leave in order to focus on my health and to get the treatment that I need,” he told Fairfax Media in a statement.
“I was pleased that I could work with my colleagues Michaelia Cash and Simon Birmingham on announcing our commitment to an Australian space agency last month, something which I look forward to reviewing and implementing early next year.”
Mr Turnbull told Fairfax that his colleague “remains a valued member of the cabinet”.
“He has a good prognosis and I look forward to having Arthur back as soon as he is ready.”
No recommendations were made about Senator Sinodinos by a NSW corruption watchdog in August.
The report from Independent Commission Against Corruption into water infrastructure company Australian Water Holdings found three former NSW Labor ministers Tony Kelly, Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi, did engage in serious corrupt conduct.
Senator Sinodinos was the first scalp in the ICAC investigations into the matter.
The senator stood aside as assistant treasurer in March 2014, following questions over his time as chairman of AWH, but was reinstated 18 months later amid expectations he would be cleared.
The ICAC report released on Thursday mentions Senator Sinodinos 24 times, but makes no specific recommendations about him.
– with AAP