Generational change needed: Paul Neville
UPDATED: MEMBER for Hinkler Paul Neville says the need for generational change is a crucial factor that has convinced him not to stand for re-election.
Mr Neville, who is now 72, said he told Queensland LNP president Bruce McIver of his decision on Monday, and then his Nationals colleagues on Monday night, before announcing it officially yesterday.
"I've been there for 20 years, or it will be more than that when parliament finishes," Mr Neville told the NewsMail.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott paid tribute to the long-standing Hinkler MP at the Coalition's joint party meeting yesterday morning.
Mr Neville said he took the opportunity of family members being home from Perth and overseas at the weekend to talk about stepping down.
He said wife Margaret was also ready for him to retire.
"On the political side, I have now got the seat to a 10.4% majority and I won every booth at the last election," he said.
"For my own sake and the party's sake, it's good to leave at the top of your game."
Mr Neville said this would give his successor the chance to consolidate their hold on the seat.
But he said he was expecting a turbulent year ahead in parliament.
"I think the next year is going to be messy," he said.
Mr Neville said he nonetheless expected the government to run its full term.
"I think elections are likely in September or October next year," he said.
"But if the government gets a run of good polls in August, I think they would go early."
Mr Neville said he had a lot of uncompleted business he would still like to work on.
"There has been a lot of interest exhibited in the Wide Bay statistical region in things like resources and minerals, and that will mean promotion work is needed," he said.
"The job still excites me, and I haven't lost any enthusiasm for it."
Mr Neville said after retiring from parliament next year, he planned to be a private citizen, at least for a while.
"The first thing is to finish the term and finish it with enthusiasm," he said.
He also planned to devote some time to family.
"If the government sees some role for me, I would consider it," he said.
"I'd like to be useful to the political process in retirement."
Mr Neville was first elected in March 1993 and has been the Nationals whip since 1998.
He has also been a parliamentary representative on the Australian Political Exchange Council since November 1998.
BREAKING: MEMBER for Hinkler Paul Neville will not contest another term.
The long-standing federal member has told the NewsMail he has decided to call it quits on his political career after the end of the current term.
Mr Neville stressed the decision was his own, and he was not put under any pressure from the LNP to resign.
The contenders for preselection in Hinkler are already lining up.
Probation and parole officer Greg McMahon, who used to belong to the ALP, yesterday formally announced he would be contesting the preselection.
Mr McMahon said he had been a member of the LNP for five years and was treasurer of the Bundaberg branch.
Mr Neville's adviser Cathy Heidrich, formerly proprietor of the Isis Town & Country, said the LNP had a strict preselection policy, which she respected.
She said she would prefer to wait until the process was completed before announcing her candidature.
"I would be telling you a lie if I said I wasn't very interested," she said.
Training consultant Keith Pitt, who has also been named as a possible contender, could not be contacted yesterday.
Former Isis Mayor Bill Trevor, who was also named as a possible, candidate, ruled out running.
More to come