CANBERRA -- In a heartfelt statement, Labor's Kate Ellis has revealed she can no more deal with the tug between family and politics. And her young son Sam will now be her focus.
Only eight months out from the last election, the Federal Opposition's spokeswoman for childcare has announced she is quitting politics to spend more time with her young family.
The 39 year old will not contest the next election.
@KateEllisMP all the best Kate. We don't always agree but I respect your commitment & advocacy, esp in early ed, & your love of family.
— Simon Birmingham (@Birmo) March 9, 2017
"This has been a very difficult decision for me," Labor's early childhood education portfolio said on Thursday.
"I cannot bear the thought of spending at least 20 weeks of every year in Canberra away from my son, who will be starting school in the next term of Parliament, and from the rest of my family."
"Ultimately, we all have to make choices and I know that regularly missing things like my son's first day at school, his first sporting match, or even just tucking him in at night or being there when he is sick and wants his mum, would make me absolutely miserable."
Ellis, the member for Adelaide, also wrote to constituents about the decision she made for her child about to start school and media identity husband David Penberthy.
"I am telling you this now because I have always worked to be upfront with our community," she said. "I have no intention of causing a by-election or walking away from the job I was elected to do."
Labor Leader Bill Shorten has paid tribute to her "thirteen years of outstanding parliamentary service" and said he and Labor respects her decision.
"Like all of Kate's colleagues, I will be sad to see her go," he said.
"We know how hard she works and we admire her strengths as a policy thinker, as a campaigner and as a trailblazer.
"Throughout my time in the Labor party, Kate has been a trusted advisor and a true friend. As a person and a representative, she is someone for whom I have the highest respect."
It is not known when, but Ellis is expected to step down from the shadow ministry, forcing Shorten to reshuffle his frontbench.
She will hold a news conference later on Thursday.
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