Nick Minchin downloads himself to the backbench

Former shadow communications minister says he will quit politics

Former shadow communications minister and the man spearheading the Liberal party’s opposition to efforts to split Telstra and roll out the NBN, Nick Minchin, will quit politics.

Minchin said in a statement that he would not contest the next preselection for the South Australian Liberal Party Senate ticket for the next Federal election.

Minchin said it was a “very difficult decision” and one he had been pondering since the coalition lost power in 2007.

“Having served nearly 17 years in the Senate, and having worked in the Party’s professional arm for 14 years before that, I consider it is now time to bring my political career to a conclusion,” Minchin said in the statement.

“Recent events involving my immediate family have been a factor in my decision.”

Minchin will serve out his term on the backbench until 30 June 2011 after being the Coalition’s Senate leader for four years and previously working as a minister for 10 years during the Howard administration.

In November last year, Minchin quit his role as shadow communications minister amidst the turmoil of a party leadership spill and was replaced by Tony Smith.

During his tenure Minchin was an ardent critic of the National Broadband Network (NBN) and efforts to force Telstra (ASX:TLS) to separate but steadfastly refused to provide any policies of his own.