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[Retirement from politics.]

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Senator the Hon. Christopher Ellison Senator for Western Australia Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate


Today I have advised the Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Turnbull MP of my decision to retire from politics.

As one of the longest serving Ministers in the Howard Government I have been very fortunate in my political life.

As a Senator for Western Australia with a young family I have not been able to do my job without the devotion and support of my wife, my family, colleagues, staff and friends.

It has been a privilege to serve the people of Western Australia as both a Senator and Federal Minister. I am indebted to them for their support and in particular the Liberal Party in Western Australia.

I believe Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop are a team that can lead the Coalition to victory at the next election. I relished the opportunity to continue serving in the Shadow Ministry under them and with the leadership team in the Senate, led by Nick Minchin. However the interests of my family have to be considered. My wife, Caroline and I have three children under nine and it would come as no surprise that I want to spend more time with them.

I am proud of the many achievements in which I have played a part.

I have met many great Australians during my Parliamentary career and it never ceases to amaze me what a great country we live in.

During my time in Parliament, I have also seen many Members of Parliament who regardless of their political philosophy have made a great contribution to our nation.

Background In February 1997, Senator Ellison was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to both the Attorney General and Minister for Health. Four months later, he was promoted to Minister for Customs and Consumer Affairs and Minister assisting the Attorney General. In October 1997 Senator Ellison was appointed Minister for Schools, Vocational Education and Training.

As Minister for Schools, he helped to implement national benchmarks for literacy and numeracy and oversaw a revision of funding for non-government schools. He also set up, for the first time, a National Advisory Committee on School Drug Education. As part of the Prime Minister’s Tough on Drugs Strategy, Senator Ellison oversaw the development of the

$7.4 million Schools Drug Education Strategy with the national goal of no illicit drugs in schools.

The Simpson Prize, initiated by Senator Ellison, involves a successful national annual essay competition for Australian students on the meaning of the ANZAC Spirit. Winning school students from each State and Territory have attended the Dawn Service at Gallipoli each year since the start of the competition.

Senator Ellison was appointed Special Minister of State in 1998 and successfully oversaw the conduct of the 1999 Referendum on the Republic and had oversight of Government advertising.

In January 2001 Senator Ellison was appointed to the position of the Minister for Justice and Customs and represented the Attorney-General in the Senate. As Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Ellison had responsibility for a number of major national initiatives to improve public safety and fight crime, including:

Strengthening Australia’s fight against organised and transnational crime, with key legislation passed in 2001 and the setting up of the Australian Crime Commission (ACC). The ACC, which replaced the National Crime Authority (NCA), was a major development in national law enforcement and combines the efforts of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Australian Customs Service and the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and all State and Territory Police Forces; A major expansion in border security through significant increases to Customs

funding to enable more effective protection against drugs, disease, illegal immigration, illegal fishing and other threats to Australia’s welfare; Negotiation (with then Foreign Minister Alexander Downer) in October 2002 of a joint investigation by the AFP and Indonesia into the Bali Bombings; The successful introduction of the Air Security Officer (ASO) program, which

involves the random placement of armed officers on domestic and some international flights to protect domestic and foreign air travellers - part of a multi-layered approach to improving aviation security which also includes canine explosive detection teams and an increased Australian Protective Service (APS) presence at airports; and Responsibility fir the tough Proceeds of Crime legislation, which extends the capacity

for assets obtained through criminal activity to be forfeited and enables the Government to use recovered funds for programs to prevent crime and strengthen law enforcement.

In March 2007, Senator Ellison was promoted to Cabinet as the Minister for Human Services, overseeing the service delivery of major Government agencies such as Centrelink, Medicare and the Child Support Agency.

Following the change of Government in November 2007, Senator Ellison was appointed as Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship and Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate. In addition, Senator Ellison is also the Chair of the Scrutiny of Bills Committee.

Prior to entering the Senate, Senator Ellison practised law in Perth as a partner in the law firm Williams Ellison from 1980 to 1993. He had previously completed his articled clerkship with the Legal Aid Commission of Western Australia. While he practised in diverse jurisdictions, he concentrated mainly on appearing in court on criminal matters.

Senator Ellison is married to Caroline and they have twins (a son and a daughter) born 1999 and a son, born 2002.

Contact: Kate Walshe - 0411 472 299 Jane Kilmartin - 0400 380 925