Colleagues give tribute to deputy PM after 26-year career
THE man who never wanted to be leader has called it a day on his political career.
Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss announced his retirement from federal politics during parliament on Thursday.
After months of speculation Mr Truss said he would not contest the Wide Bay seat at this year's election and would step down from his post as leader of the National Party and position in cabinet as Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development.
He will continue as Member for Wide Bay for the rest of the term, working out of his office in Maryborough.
Mr Truss has spent 26 years in federal politics after being elected as member for Wide Bay in 1990 but he started his life in politics as a member of Kingaroy shire council more than 40 years ago.
"In my early years, I was always talked about as the youngest national president of the Council of Rural Youth, the youngest councillor, the youngest mayor, but now that I am numbered amongst the oldest I think it is time to go," he said.
Mr Truss led the Nationals for eight years and spent 12-and-a-half years as a frontbencher.
"When I became leader in 2007 nobody wanted the job, including me," he said.
Mr Truss's colleagues gave tribute to his decades of service, including former Member for Hinkler Paul Neville, who saw his neighbouring MP as a friend and mentor.
Mr Neville was in politics for almost 20 years, retiring at the last federal election.
He said he shared a hallway with Mr Truss during his first years in parliament when Paul Keating was Prime Minister and the house sat late into the night.
"When it came time to pack up Warren's light was always on," Mr Neville said.
"He must have worked late into the night."
He said Mr Truss was incredibly well informed.
"Of all the people I have known, I have never known anyone to be so assiduously kept across their brief," he said.
Mr Neville said Mr Truss was known for having "safe hands" in parliament, meaning he could handle almost anything skilfully without controversy.
He also described Mr Truss as a loyal and honest man with strong morals.
Current Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt was also paid tribute to Mr Truss.
"I will be forever grateful for the guidance and friendship Warren has provided me since I entered parliament, as his neighbouring MP, in 2013," Mr Pitt said.