Paterson MP Bob Baldwin announced his retirement from Federal politics last Saturday, confirming he will not contest the seat at the next election.
After 17 years in office, the Liberal Party MP said withdrawing his nomination was not an easy decision.
“I have not come to the decision lightly and I feel it is time to move on with my life and allow others the opportunity to fulfil their dreams of entering parliament with fresh enthusiasm,” he said.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to represent the community over so many terms and feel I have left a legacy of many successful projects working in conjunction with the community and all levels of government.”
Mr Baldwin, 61, has had a long association with the Myall Coast, first winning the seat of Paterson in the 1996 Federal Election with 59.78% of the two-party preferred vote.
Although losing the seat to Labor’s Bob Horne in 1998, he was re-elected in 2001 and comfortably held the seat at every subsequent election.
Mr Baldwin served as a Parliamentary Secretary in the final two years of the Howard government.
He also served in the Abbott Ministry as a Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and as a Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment.
Mr Baldwin said he was “proud to have represented the Liberal Party in Paterson for 17 out of the past 20 years.”
“I also feel privileged to have served on the Federal executive in both Government and Opposition and I thank the party for that opportunity.”
In a statement released last week, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described Mr Baldwin as one of Parliament’s “true characters” who had “passionately represented the people of Paterson.”
Prime Minister Turnbull also acknowledged Mr Baldwin’s achievements including writing reforms to the anti-dumping legislation and capping Commonwealth water purchases in the Murray Darling Basin.
Mr Baldwin’s passion for cooking was also noted with The Prime Minister commenting, “He’s never happier than wearing an apron and serving food to friends.”
It has been reported that Mr Baldwin is the 13th member of coalition parties in the House of Representatives to announce their retirement.