Today I announce that I will be leaving the Victorian Parliament prior to the end of 2021.
I recently advised former Liberal Leader Michael O’Brien that I would not contest the 2022 State Election. Following the change of Leader on Tuesday and with imminent changes to be made to the Shadow Cabinet, I have decided, in consultation with current Liberal Leader Matthew Guy, to bring my departure from Parliament forward to later this year.
It has been an absolute privilege to serve in the Parliament for the past 15 years and now is the right time to hand the baton to someone new, someone with fresh perspective, energy and enthusiasm.
At the outset, I thank my amazing, selfless and talented wife, Jen, our incredible children Charlotte, Claudia, Tommy and Sebastian, my parents, brothers and broader family, without whose support I could never have served in the Parliament for the last 15 years.
All of us are elected to make a difference to our communities and I am grateful for the opportunity to have been part of significant positive reforms to our State.
Following the tragic deaths of too many women at the hands of parolees, I am pleased the sweeping reforms to the parole system that I commissioned and then implemented as the responsible Minister, have stood the test of time, making a real and lasting difference to community safety.
I recognise the countless courageous victims of crime who continue to fight for change and their strength is an inspiration to me every day. Their capacity to continue on despite unimaginable loss should encourage all of us to do our best and to focus on what matters. I am proud to call many of these advocates friends.
As Crime Prevention Minister many innovative new programs were commissioned to reduce crime and address the causes of offending behaviour, including what were at the time, new initiatives to tackle the scourge of family violence.
As Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation, in partnership with then Planning Minister Matthew Guy, we strengthened the agent of change principle in the Victorian planning system to protect our wonderful live music industry.
I am fortunate to have been able to spend time with many dedicated public servants, paid and unpaid, who give so much to the people of our state. I have spent many an hour talking with our police, PSOs, prison officers, emergency first responders and other justice workers, listening and feeling the passion for what they do and I am never less than deeply moved by the dedication they bring to work every day.
The recommendations made by the Legal and Social Issues Committee under my chairmanship led to the introduction of Victoria’s assisted dying laws which empower individuals and reduce suffering. They are compassionate and respect the rights of the individual.
Respect for democracy has been a key personal motivator and as Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet I was honoured to host His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, to visit and address MPs at Parliament House in December 2009. Recently, I supported the people of Hong Kong in the fight against their quickly disappearing freedom by establishing and co-chairing the Parliamentary Friends of Hong Kong.
At a community level, it’s been a privilege to work on so many important issues and projects from Mt Eliza to Mallacoota, Berwick to Bena, Officer to Orbost, Monbulk to Morwell and Lilydale to Lakes Entrance. I’m particularly pleased to have been involved in the delivery of the Officer Specialist School in the face of bureaucratic and political opposition. It was satisfying to help deliver important projects for my electorate in government including Peninsula Link, the Koo Wee Rup Bypass and the Cardinia Road Railway Station.
I thank the Liberal Party for its faith in me, I am only an MP because of the support of thousands of wonderful Liberal Party volunteers who believe in me. I hope I have repaid that belief with my work, actions and deeds. I particularly want to thank my electorate Chairman, Mr Scott Rossetti and electorate Executive for their unending support during my time in Parliament.
I have been fortunate to serve under four incredibly capable and dedicated leaders. To Ted, Denis, Michael and Matthew, I thank each of you for your faith and trust in me and your unswerving commitment to the people of Victoria.
I thank my loyal and hardworking staff in whom I have nothing but the highest regard, respect and admiration. They are true public servants in every sense of the word; over the last 15 years they have helped thousands of fellow Victorians, including many of the most vulnerable members of our community. They have always acted with integrity, compassion and understanding.
To the people of the Eastern Victoria Region, thank you sincerely for electing me on four separate occasions to represent you in the Parliament of Victoria and for giving me the opportunity to be part of positive change in our wonderful Region.
I wish my friend Matthew Guy and the Liberal Nationals team every success at the November 2022 state election, Victoria needs a better, positive alternative which only the Liberal Nationals can deliver.
Edward O’Donohue – Parliamentary Service
- Elected as Member for Eastern Victoria Region 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018
- Chair of the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee 2011-13
- Chair of the Legal and Social Issues Committee 2015-18
- Various Shadow Parliamentary Secretary roles to Leader Ted Baillieu 2008-10
- Parliamentary Secretary for Transport to Minister Terry Mulder 2010-13
- Parliamentary Secretary to Premier Denis Napthine 2013
- Minister for Corrections 2013-14
- Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation 2013-14
- Minister for Crime Prevention 2013-14
- Shadow Minister for Police, Corrections and Community Safety 2015-18
- Shadow Attorney-General, December 2018 – September 2021