Why Matthew Groom is getting out of politics
THE pull to spend more time with his young family was just too strong for Matthew Groom.
The senior Liberal Minister has announced he will step down from political life, leaving the Cabinet immediately. He will not recontest his seat in Denison at the state election, due in March.
“It’s been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made but I’ve firmly come to the conclusion that this is the right decision for me and for my family,” Mr Groom said yesterday.
“You don’t get a second go at raising a family and we want to make sure it’s everything that it can be.” With son Josh, right, by his side, Mr Groom said politics took a toll on family life he was no longer prepared to endure.
FAMILY will come first for departing Liberal minister Matthew Groom, who says wife Ruth and their three young children have sacrificed enough for his political career.
Mr Groom announced yesterday he would step down immediately from Cabinet and not recontest his seat in Denison at the State Election, due in March.
The Minister for Energy, Environment and Parks and State Growth, who was also acting Attorney-General, will pursue a career outside politics after eight years in State Parliament.
“I always thought I would have a post-political career,” Mr Groom said. “You are weighing that up as you get closer to an election. You’re making judgments about whether you’re prepared to commit for another term.
“I am conscious of the ages of the kids and it gets harder – it’s a beautiful time.”
Accompanied by Ms Groom and children Chloe, Josh and Meg — as well as Premier Will Hodgman — Mr Groom said politics had taken a toll on family life he was no longer prepared to endure.
That included the impact on Ms Groom’s own career.
“It’s been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made but I’ve firmly come to the conclusion that this is the right decision for me and for my family,” he said.
“Sometimes the impact can be very significant, sometimes in ways that people might struggle to truly understand.
“You don’t get a second go at raising a family and we want to make sure it’s everything that it can be.”
The unexpected announcement came on a day former Labor premier Lara Giddings revealed she was pregnant after fearing a successful career in politics would have prevented her having children.
Ms Giddings, who will also leave politics at the next election, said she was surprised but understood the decision from her opposite number.
“There are pressures on both men and women nowadays around wanting to be active parents in family’s life,” she said.
“If he’s putting his family first, I think that’s the right thing for him and his family.”
Mr Groom took on the super-ministry of State Growth created after the Liberal election win in 2014.
The 46-year-old is the fourth minister the Hodgman Government has lost in a variety of circumstances.
Paul Harriss quit Parliament last year before Adam Brooks stepped down amid concerns about the use of a personal email account.
Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin withdrew from politics after a diagnosis that revealed a brain tumour earlier this year.
Mr Groom included in his proudest achievements the opening up of wilderness areas to eco-tourism, legis- your lation to pave the way for a kunanyi/Mt Wellington cable car proposal and his management of last year’s energy crisis.
“I’m very proud that right now Tasmania is the most energy-secure state in the country and we are at the front edge of the renewable development opportunity that we face nationally,” he said.
Mr Hodgman said an announcement on who would fill Mr Groom’s portfolios would be made at a later date.
“His record is significant, his contribution has been immense,” he said.
Mr Groom will also leave a hole in Denison, where he easily topped the Liberal vote, and where Liberal nominations will be reopened.
Mr Groom’s legacy as a minister was hailed by the business and tourism sectors.
“Setting a course for Tasmania to emerge as the environmental tourism capital of the world is a mighty legacy,” Tourism Industry Council chief Luke Martin tweeted.
Greens leader Cassy O’Connor said his departure highlighted the need for more numbers in the House of Assembly to ensure a strong Cabinet.
The Wilderness Society’s Vica Bayley said he admired Mr Groom’s decision, but criticised moves to wind back protection of reserves and reopen 4WD tracks in the North-West.