Opposition leader Bill Shorten has paid tribute to departing Labor senator Stephen Conroy, backing his decision to quit politics to spend more time with his family.
Conroy announced his resignation from the Senate this week just months after the July 2 election.
He had been re-elected for another 6-year term at the election, but the Victorian Right faction powerbroker quietly announced his decision by tabling a speech in the Senate on Thursday night.
"Stephen Conroy has served the Australian Senate and the Labor Party and the Australian people with a Shor for 20 years," Shorten told reporters in the US, where he's on an official visit.
"I only wish him, had his wife Paula and daughter Bella, the very best in the future. He's chosen to prioritise his family over a future engagement in politics. After 2 decades he steps down with the best wishes and the blessings of the Labor Party."
Shorten said he received news of Conroy's exit via text message while he was in Montreal, Canada.
Bill Shorten says he got text message in Montreal from Stephen Conroy on retirement, tried to reply but he'd made his statement already— Rashida Yosufzai (@Rashidajourno) September 16, 2016
The Labor leader said Conroy's replacement would be selected in the next couple of days.
"We will go through the party processes and elect a replacement," he said.
"It's not the first time a senator has stepped down, it won't be the last. One thing I've found in politics is that when there's a vacancy there's normally more people who want to fill it than positions available."