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Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces retirement from politics

Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, pictured here on election day in May 2022, announced Tuesday that he is quitting politics after 16 years as a Liberal Party Member of Parliament for the suburban Sydney seat of Cook in New South Wales. File Photo by Mick Tsikas/EPA-EFE
Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, pictured here on election day in May 2022, announced Tuesday that he is quitting politics after 16 years as a Liberal Party Member of Parliament for the suburban Sydney seat of Cook in New South Wales. File Photo by Mick Tsikas/EPA-EFE

Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Tuesday that he is retiring from politics to take on "new challenges in the global corporate sector" and spend more time with his family.

Morrison, who served as Prime Minister for the Liberal Party from 2018 to 2022, made the announcement in a statement saying he would stand down from the Federal Parliament in Canberra at the end of February after representing his Cook, New South Wales, constituency since 2007.

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"After having served in the parliament for more than sixteen years, including almost 4 years as Prime Minister during a very challenging time for our country, now is the time to move on and enable a new member to be elected who can bring fresh energy and a long term commitment to serving our local community in this role," Morrison wrote.

He said he was looking forward to the new challenges of a series of global strategic advisory roles and private boards, focused on the U.S. and Indo-Pacific, drawing on his experience and networks in the region.

Morrison, 55, a devout Christian, also announced his first book which is being published by a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing for release in May.

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His retirement comes 20 months after losing the 2022 General Election to Labor and being replaced by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

As prime minister, Morrison is credited with steering the country through the COVID-19 pandemic and signing the country up to the AUKUS (Australia-United Kingdom-United States) Indo-Pacific security pact in 2021 that will provide Australia with strategic nuclear submarines.

Morrison also served in a number of senior cabinet posts, many of them, controversially, while he was prime minister, including minister for industry, science, energy and resources, home affairs minister, finance minister, health minister and treasurer, a portfolio he held twice.

That led to him being censured by parliament and he also faced criticism for delays in rolling out of vaccines and shortages of tests during COVID-19.

Albanese said in a statement that he had spoken to Morrison to wish him and his family well.

Morrison's successor, Liberal Party and opposition leader Peter Dutton thanked him for his service, hailing the AUKUS pact as his legacy achievement along with Australia's support for Ukraine.

"Scott presided over some of the most difficult challenges an Australian prime minister has known since the Second World War," Dutton said.

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"In the days and weeks ahead, we will be able to reflect on Scott's broader legacy -- in stopping the boats as immigration minister, in keeping our economy well managed as treasurer, and in looking after the constituents he cherished dearly as the member for Cook."

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