KIRSTEN Livermore's decision not to recontest the seat of Capricornia at next year's federal election has been described as a "big loss" for the Labor Party and Queensland.
Politicians and journalists took to Twitter on Tuesday night to praise Ms Livermore who had earlier announced her intention to retire from politics to spend more time with her family.
Victorian backbencher Steve Gibbons, whose activity on Twitter caused headlines for other reasons on Wednesday, posted this about Ms Livermore: "One of my Class of 98 mates Kirsten Livermore has announced she won't be recontesting Capricornia at the next poll. Big Loss to Labor & QLD."
It was a sentiment echoed by Fraser MP Andrew Leigh, who wrote: "Sad that my friend & colleague Kirsten Livermore won't be recontesting Capricornia. Great fighter for Qld (+ one of fittest people in parlt)."
Labor strategist Simon Banks thanked Ms Livermore for being a "strong and effective representative" for Capricornia.
A number of press gallery journalists also tweeted their praise for Ms Livermore with one describing her departure as a "big, big blow to ALP".
The ALP now faces a tough battle to retain Capricornia, which Ms Livermore first won in 1998.
She is Labor's only MP in regional Queensland outside the south-east corner.
The Liberal National Party has already pre-selected Michelle Landry to contest the seat. Ms Landry ran in 2010 and despite achieving a swing of more than 8% against Ms Livermore, came up short.
Earlier: Prime Minister Julia Gillard has paid tribute to her "great mate" Kirsten Livermore, who has announced she is leaving politics next year.
The pair entered the federal Parliament together in 1998 and have become close friends since.
"Kirsten has been a fantastic local representative and a great mate," Ms Gillard said.
"I attended Kirsten's wedding and have watched on as she has raised her two young children while her husband has been the primary carer with mum away so much of the time."
Ms Gillard said she respected Ms Livermore's decision to leave politics so she could devote more time to her family.
"Kirsten will continue to serve the people of Capricornia with distinction until the next election and leaves this place with the affection and respect of her colleagues," she said.
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