The decision from Deputy Rod Bryans, who on Friday was cleared of misconduct allegations and invited to return to the role having stepped aside while the matter was investigated, takes the number of retiring ministers to six – more than half of the 11-strong council.
He joins External Relations Minister Sir Philip Bailhache, Health Minister Andrew Green, Treasury Minister Alan Maclean, Housing Minister Anne Pryke and Infrastructure Minister Eddie Noel in exiting politics.
Of the existing Council of Ministers only Chief Minister Ian Gorst, Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham, Home Affairs Minister Kristina Moore, Environment Minister Steve Luce and Social Security Minister Susie Pinel are seeking re-election.
Senators Gorst and Farnham have both expressed a wish to stand for Chief Minister if re-elected.
The recent investigation into Deputy Bryans’ behaviour related to an unproven allegation that he unzipped or zipped up Deputy Pinel’s dress and commented on the colour of her bra. He was found not to have acted inappropriately by the States Commissioner for Standards.
Deputy Bryans said that education would always remain a passion for him.
‘I will be sorry to leave the Assembly at this point, as I believe there will be some fundamental changes in the future government,’ he said.
‘It would be interesting to be at the heart of the decision making but my time has passed and there are other opportunities I now wish to pursue.
‘I was fortunate both as assistant minister and as minister to work with an excellent department. Everyone, without exception, I found to be highly dedicated, deeply compassionate and extremely professional people and it was a joy to work alongside them.’
He added: ‘To all of those people who serve within the education system, thank you for what you have done, what you are doing and what you will do in the future.
‘You have moved mountains over the last few years and your passion and dedication has not gone unnoticed. Long may it continue.’
The minister added that his departure from politics would allow him to spend more time with his family.
‘Two weeks ago I became 65. Days later my second grandchild arrived with a third soon to appear,’ he said.
‘It is time for me to spend more time with my lovely family, who have been extremely supportive of me during these last turbulent few months.
‘I am sorry to disappoint friends, colleagues and the electorate, but thank you for your help, support and advice – it was invaluable. I hope the role I have played has made a difference for the better.’