A federal Labor MP is resigning from parliament because of his concerns about being a decent father to his three young children.
Perth MP Tim Hammond, the ALP’s shadow minister for consumer affairs and assistant spokesperson on resources, flagged his intention to resign as soon as practical, saying he’d been unable to reconcile the role with his three children, aged six, two-and-a-half and seven months.
Hammond, 43, apologised for his decision, which will force a by-election in the marginal Western Australian seat, which Labor holds with 1.15% majority. The former barrister was first elected in July 2016, replacing Alannah MacTiernan.
“I also say sorry to all of you who have supported me and placed their faith in me. To those I have disappointed, whilst I apologise, I would also like to say thank you,” he said.
“I realise this is very unexpected news. But as much as I have tried desperately, I just cannot reconcile my life as a Federal Member of Parliament with being the father I need – and want – to be to my three children.”
Hammond said he had “privately agonised” over his decision for many months, but it was apparent the demands of politics were taking a toll on his family life and he admitted he “got it wrong” in estimating the demands of a political life.
Here’s part of what he said:
Even from opposition, life between Parliamentary, portfolio and local community obligations has meant being away from home even more than I had anticipated.
The reality is that I thought I had an appreciation of how to manage my duties as a Federal Member of Parliament in a way that did not have such an impact on my family.
I got that wrong. I just did not anticipate the profound effect my absence would have on all of us.
As a direct result of me being away from home, the strength of the relationships that I have built with my children have suffered in a way that is simply unsustainable for us as a family, and me as a Dad.
I am not saying that the life of a Western Australian Federal Member of Parliament is unmanageable. Many of my colleagues make it work. But it is time to be brutally honest and admit that I am not one of them.
My wife Lindsay and I have tried incredibly hard to make this work. As well having relied upon support from family, friends and colleagues, I have actively sought out professional advice and assistance to try and preserve our family unit in a way that I felt confident would not suffer from my absence.
But my time from home simply means that the strength of my relationships with my daughters and my son has been compromised. That is something that I promised to myself would never happen. And because of that, I feel that the only viable option for me is to resign from my role as a Federal Member of Parliament and be the best Dad that I can possibly be to my kids.
While his political career was short, the MP had already been tipped as future prime ministerial material.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten, who has his own young daughter, said he respected Hammond’s decision.
“As a colleague and a friend, I’m disappointed he won’t be part of our next Caucus but as a husband and a father, I’m glad he’ll be with the people he cares about most in this world,” he said.
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