Local, Politics

Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker announces he is quitting politics

Luke Hartsuyker, the member for Cowper which covers the whole of the Coffs Coast,  this morning announced his retirement from federal politics.

by Peter Daniels

The member for Cowper (pictured) has spent 17 years representing the electorate and says his decision to retire was ‘not easy’.

“It was not an easy decision to come too,” he said. “I certainly spoke with my family about the decision but also with the prime minister and the deputy PM along with some, but not all, of my colleagues.

“It is really hard to put into words the feeling of taking your place in your seat in the federal parliament for the first time.

“But it has been a privilege to represent the electorate of Cowper which is a powerhouse of growth on the North Coast.”

He nominated the creation of employment opportunities, the duplication of the Pacific Highway and upgraded rail connectivity, serving in the ministry and helping individual constituents as his greatest achievements.

Mr Hartsuyker also pointed to meeting the challenges that increased growth brings to an electorate as key issues he had addressed.

“There is now better road connectivity between Sydney and Brisbane, the introduction of the NBN and an upgraded rail system have all helped in meeting those challenges,” he added.

He said there were now greater employment opportunities for Cowper than when he was first elected.

His announcement follows some intense media speculation surrounding his future, and follows disastrous results for the Coalition government in the July 28 Super Saturday by-elections.

Mr Hartsuyker spent five years in the ministry where he served in employment and vocational services’ portfolios.

While “everyone would love to spend more time in the executive”, Mr Hartsuyker said he was blessed to be able to deliver policy change as a minister. It is a huge honour to implement change.

He represented Australia at the G20 economic summit working with government from around the world on addressing employment issues.

He also led delegations to Indonesia and India to improve market access for Australian producers.

“In turn, this has led to improvements in our export opportunities and, by extension, the creation of local jobs,” he added.

While he enjoyed his time on the world stage, Mr Hartsuyker said he also enjoyed assisting constituents on a range of matters.

“As the local member, you also get to help many individuals with their issues.

Luke Hartsuyker is calling time on his 17 year career as a federal politician.

Luke Hartsuyker is calling time on his 17 year career as a federal politician.

“Some of these are confidential and private matters but they are still examples of what a local member should do.

“I would like to thank the people of Cowper for their support over many years.

“There were concerns when the new boundaries were drawn up as to how it would be to represent both Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour.

“But it has been fantastic to have two growth centres in the electorate.

“I have enjoyed having Port Macquarie as part of the electorate. It is a dynamic and growing economy and a dynamic area to be involved in.”

He also praised the great range of community and business groups he has worked with over the years.

“There are a number of businesses that are doing great things around the world from the Cowper electorate.

“Businesses such as Bale Defence Industry, Cassegrain Winery, Expressway Spares – to name only a few.”

Mr Hartsuyker will remain as the member for Cowper until the next election. He said The Nationals party will “go through the process of selecting a candidate to contest the next election”.

“It was important for me to complete the full term I was elected to serve.

“The Nationals will open up pre-selection for Cowper and I am confident there will be a strong field of candidates to choose from.

“It would be the kiss of death for a sitting member to anoint a successor,” he added.

The next federal election will be held by May 2019.

The Greens have nominated Dr Sally Townley as their candidate while the Labor Party has selected Andrew Woodward as its candidate.

Another possible candidate is the former member for Lyne Rob Oakeshott who contested the 2016 election for Cowper. He is yet to publicly commit to standing for election.

First published at The Nambucca Gazette, Wednesday 8 August 2018.

See: https://www.nambuccaguardian.com.au/story/5572129/luke-hartsuyker-to-quit-politics/?cs=736


  1. Archie Black

    Perhaps our Mayor, Denise Knight, such is her ego, had thoughts that she would be a shoe in for Cowper as a Nationals candidate, but perhaps forgot that she had to be a member first and foremost to gain a nomination.
    My understanding is that to nominate, a member must serve a qualifying period, and unless she is already a National Party member ( I think that she is not a National Party member at the moment), there are others waiting in the wings who have been National Party members for quite some time who will nominate.
    Or, she could join the Liberals and win their nomination, failing that, it is possible for her stand as an Independent.
    The Cowper electorate is much bigger than just Coffs Harbour and although Denise Knight may be popular in our city, she is a virtual unknown south in the Port Macquarie area
    My money is on her not standing at all for Cowper, or a long shot at standing for the State seat of Coffs Harbour when vacated by Andrew Fraser. next March.
    Even then, it wont be as a National Party candidate due to the eligibility requirements she hasn’t met.
    Will we see some pork barrelling in our region, the likes of which we haven’t seen before?
    I suspect so, in the months ahead.
    Strap yourself in for the ride boys and girls, things will be warming up, and I don’t mean the weather.

  2. Rikki Bekker

    Yes, I heard that story about the Mayor putting her hand up to run for the Nationals too Archie. I heard it in relation to the state seat though.
    Apparently she didn’t consider it important about not being a party member.
    I am still laughing.

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