Pyne ‘very happy’ about political exit
Defence Minister Christopher Pyne is excited to be bowing out of politics as the Coalition face a predicted election defeat.
Appearing on the Today Show along with Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon, presenter Deborah Knight acknowledged the Defence Minister's upcoming political exit at the upcoming federal election.
"I am (leaving). I'm very happy about it," Mr Pyne said.
Asked why he looked "pretty chipper", he responded: "Twenty-six years. It's a long time. I have enjoyed it."
Mr Pyne's announcement in early March followed the resignations of a number of high-profile liberals, forcing Scott Morrison to defend the stability of his government.
Despite sitting on the other side of the political divide, Mr Fitzgibbon praised Mr Pyne, saying he would be "a great loss to parliamentary democracy".
"We will miss him. We will miss his humour, wit and even skills on the snooker table. He has made a great contribution and it should be recognised," Mr Fitzgibbon said.
But the duo weren't so cordial throughout the interview.
They had a heated exchange over a rise in the minimum wage, after the Australian Council of Trade Unions called for a $43 a week increase.
"We would like to see wages increased. Of course we would. We have created an economy which is growing. Under Labor, of course, that would be put at risk. But that's not a matter for the parliament. The parliament can't set a minimum wage. For Labor to claim that it can, is a hoax," Mr Pyne said.
Mr Fitzgibbon responded: "For most Australians everything is going up but their wages. It is not good enough for Christopher to say it is someone else's problem. We believe the parliament has a role."
Mr Pyne continued to label Mr Fitzgibbon's wage-intervention claims a hoax, but the Shadow Agriculture Minsiter said the government could still provide guidance.
"It's time to retire while people are asking me to stay, rather than continue and end up later with people telling me to go," Mr Pyne said in a statement.
"I have every confidence that the Prime Minister will lead the Coalition to victory when the election is held in May. At 51, I still have the opportunity to have a second career beyond politics.
"I'm confident that I leave my seat in good shape. I'm sure the Liberal Party will retain Sturt at the coming election."
Mr Pyne had a swing against him at the 2016 federal election, and holds his seat by a margin of 5.4 per cent.
It's expected Mr Pyne will seek a career in the private sector following the federal election.
The latest Newspoll revealed the Coalition was trailing Labor 54-46 on a two-party preferred basis.