Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation

Media release: Retirement announcement

25 January 2019

The Hon Michael Keenan MP

Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation

Today I am announcing that I will not contest the forthcoming federal election.

Since being elected the Member for Stirling in 2004, it has been an immense privilege to serve the people of Stirling and Australia in the Federal Parliament.
 
Whilst politics is a proud vocation, it is also difficult and exhausting business. The pressures on family life are formidable, as are the constant rigours of being an effective Member of Parliament, as well as a Minister in the Government.
 
I have always worked hard as a Member of Parliament and as a Minister, but after doing this for 15 years, I cannot commit to another term.
 
Over the Christmas break, it became very clear to me personally that times have changed and that this decision was the right one for my family and myself.
 
When I was first elected 15 years ago, my first child had not yet been born.  I have been an absent father in the lives of my children and now is the time for this to stop. With a newborn child – our family’s fourth – it is unworkable for my family.

I am proud of what I have achieved as a local Member in Stirling, and for what I have achieved as a Minister in the Coalition Government.
 
As Minister for Justice from 2013 to 2017 and Minister for Counter-Terrorism from 2015-2017, I worked closely with our law enforcement agencies to help make Australia a safer and more secure nation.

Counter-terrorism funding increased substantially and we strengthened our intelligence capabilities, passing legislation to strengthen our ability to investigate, monitor, arrest and prosecute home-grown extremists and returning foreign fighters.
 
We strengthened AUSTRAC’s powers to crack down on money laundering and terrorism financing and introduced laws to tackle foreign bribery and corporate crime.
 
We established the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission to combine the intelligence, information and research capabilities of the Australian Crime Commission, CrimTrac and the Australian Institute of Criminology into a single agency.
 
We implemented “Carly’s Law” to crack down on online child predators, and we put in place the biggest crackdown on child sex tourism ever, by banning passports for all registered child sex offenders.
 
The National Firearms Amnesty that I oversaw was a success with more than 51,000 firearms being handed in across Australia. Our country is a safer place as a result.
 
We set up the National Anti-Gangs Squads to combat organised crime and bikie gangs. We made significant inroads towards stopping the flow of illicit drugs, with record seizures and record arrests.
 
We implemented Taskforce Blaze – a joint effort with China – that has helped stem the flow of illicit drugs reaching out shores.
 
We unlocked the Proceeds of Crime Account to ensure these funds went towards fighting crime, as opposed to the Labor Government, which used it as a slush fund to pay down their debt.
 
I was also proud to provide the Australian Federal Police with a record $321.4 million funding injection - the largest investment in their domestic capability in a decade.
 
In Human Services and Digital Transformation, we have gone about the steady and methodical work of delivering the services that Australians need and want.
 
In the last financial year, we saw 736 million self-service claims lodged online – meaning each was completed at a time and place that suited the customer. 
 
We’ve driven further uptake of digital Medicare claims, 98 per cent of which are now completed online.
 
We’ve made strong inroads in our efforts to reduce busy signals, call wait times, and the number of claims on hand at Centrelink.
 
We’ve employed an extra 2750 staff to ensure the services we deliver are there for those who need it.
 
And we’ve worked across government to implement the National Redress Scheme and the Child Care Subsidy, to make changes to the Farm Household Allowance, and to progressively enable online services for child support customers.
 
As Digital Transformation Minister, I was pleased to release our Digital Transformation Strategy and roadmap for Australia’s digital future. We are world leaders in this space but there is always more to be done. We will continue to deliver world-leading digital services for the benefit of all Australians so that government is easy to deal with, while also eliminating the need to deal with multiple agencies or layers of government.
 
We are harnessing the power of data to improve services and make better and faster decisions and we must be accountable for delivering digital transformation that will improve Australians’ lives.

As the longest-serving Federal Member for Stirling, I am also immensely proud of what I have helped to deliver for the electorate, including:

$65 million in Federal funding for the upgrade of Stephenson Avenue.

A $32 million investment in expanding the Mitchell Freeway south from Cedric Street to Vincent Street.

More than $290 million in needs-based funding reform to support local schools and students.

$10.6 million in funding for upgrades to Osborne Park Hospital.

More than $13 million in grants to support local businesses.

And, most recently, a $500,000 upgrade for Des Penman Reserve in Nollamara.

While it is time for me to retire from politics and pass on the baton to another representative in Stirling, I remain resolutely optimistic about the Coalition Government’s prospects at the forthcoming election – not just here in Stirling and Western Australia, but across the nation.
 
The Coalition Government has a good story to tell: we’ve cut taxes; we’ve undertaken the biggest infrastructure spend in our nation’s history; we fixed the GST issue for Western Australia – something that has eluded successive governments for too long; we made our country safer and more secure; we’ve brought integrity back to our borders by stopping the boats; we will deliver a Budget surplus this year – Australia’s first in a decade.

The Government’s plan for a stronger economy is working. This is why I believe the Coalition can and will win the next election.

I will continue to work for the Liberal Party and the causes we hold dear throughout this election year and beyond.
 
I would like to thank the people of Stirling for placing their confidence in me at five successive elections. It has been an honour to represent this part of Perth in a community and city I love.

I thank the party members and branches in Stirling for supporting me as the party’s representative.

I thank my wonderful staff who have served me so well over the years.
 
Most importantly, I thank my wife Georgina and our family – who have been there every step of the way for me and with whom I now look forward to spending a lot more of my time.

Page last updated: 1 April 2019