Fam­ily comes first as min­is­ter quits pol­i­tics

The Australian - - THE NATION -

South Aus­tralian Health Min­is­ter Jack Snelling is quit­ting state pol­i­tics to spend more time with his fam­ily, forc­ing Pre­mier Jay Weather­ill to fill a big hole in his min­istry just six months be­fore the state elec­tion.

Mr Snelling will step down from cab­i­net im­me­di­ately and will not con­test the March poll, say­ing it’s time for him to “step away”.

But the Lib­eral op­po­si­tion says his de­par­ture is a mas­sive vote of no con­fi­dence in the gov­ern­ment and in­volves more than fam­ily con­sid­er­a­tions. “It’s been a very, very dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion for me and I’ve ag­o­nised over it for some time,” Mr Snelling told re­porters on Sun­day, sur­rounded by his wife and six chil­dren.

“I’m in my mid-40s. I’ve been a mem­ber of par­lia­ment for 20 years and re­ally I’ve de­cided that now is the time for me to step away. It’s some­thing I need to do for my fam­ily, as well.

“In a port­fo­lio like health, you can’t help but be of­ten dis­tracted and per­haps, dare I say it, some­times a lit­tle bit grumpy with the fam­ily in a way that they don’t de­serve.”

The Pre­mier said the out­go­ing min­is­ter would al­ways be re­mem­bered as the man who de­liv­ered the new $2.4 bil­lion Royal Ade­laide Hos­pi­tal and presided over ma­jor changes to the health sys­tem. “It’s been a stel­lar ca­reer,” Mr Weather­ill said.

Op­po­si­tion Leader Steven Mar­shall said the min­is­ter’s res­ig­na­tion had come when there were still ma­jor is­sues con­fronting health and sug­gested he was not con­fi­dent of re­tain­ing his seat next year.

“Jack Snelling has de­cided to ac­tu­ally jump ship. This is a mas­sive slap in the face for Jay Weather­ill and this chaotic La­bor gov­ern­ment,” Mr Mar­shall said.

“There’s much more to this story that what we’ve heard today.”

Mr Weather­ill did not in­di­cate whether he will fill the va­cant port­fo­lio or make other changes.

Mr Snelling’s res­ig­na­tion comes two weeks af­ter he over­saw the long-awaited open­ing of the new Royal Ade­laide and to­wards the end of a con­tro­ver­sial re­vamp of SA’s health ser­vices known as Trans­form­ing Health.

He was first elected as the MP for Play­ford in 1997 and be­came the Health Min­is­ter in Jan­uary 2013. He pre­vi­ously served as trea­surer and par­lia­men­tary Speaker.


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