When Joe Hockey announced a press conference last Wednesday, less than 48 hours after launching a blistering attack on leadership challenger Malcolm Turnbull before he was installed as prime minister, many expected his resignation announcement.
Instead, he basically delivered a job application to continue in the role he’d held for nearly two years, announcing a further crackdown on foreign investment in residential property, as well as plans to introduce legislation to reduce the GST threshold to zero for online purchases from overseas.
Hockey laughed at suggestions he would resign and told the media he was keen to stay on as treasurer, but it didn’t work.
Yesterday, prime minister Malcolm Turnbull replaced Hockey with Scott Morrison.
Soon after Hockey announced he was leaving politics after nearly two decades.
Like Tony Abbott, Hockey didn’t want a ministerial position and will now step down as the member for North Sydney, having served since John Howard was elected prime minister in 1996.
He is the second-longest serving member and says he has “no desire to break Billy Hughes’ record!”
The 50-year-old father of three young children, aged 6, 4 and 2, is married to investment banker Melissa Babbage and said he was resigning “for the sake of my young family”.
“I advised the Prime Minister that I did not wish to continue as a minister in the Government and that it is my intention to resign from the House of Representatives,” Hockey said in a statement.
“In each and every ministry from Financial Services to Employment and Workplace Relations, from Small Business and Tourism to Treasurer, I have sought to do my very best for the people of Australia.
“I will have more to say in due course, but for the sake of my young family – to whom I owe so much – I have decided to bring my parliamentary career to a close.”
Already Hockey is being mooted at a replacement for US ambassador for Kim Beazley, the former Labor leader. The prime minister said the former treasurer “had much more to offer the nation”.
Hockey is the first MP to resign in the wake of Tony Abbott losing the Liberal leadership on Monday. His replacement, Scott Morrison, said Abbott had offered him Hockey’s job at the 11th hour in a bid to shore up his support.
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