After more than 35 years with the Liberal Party, Director Tony Nutt announced his resignation on Wednesday.
In a statement released Wednesday evening, Nutt said he had "indicated" to the Federal President, Richard Alston, that day the Federal Executive "should appoint a new Director to take the Party forward to the next election".
At the helm of three general elections over the past six years, including last year's very close election result in which the Coalition scraped home by the skin of their teeth, Nutt said "it was time" to move on.
Tony Nutt won three elections, one unexpected in Victoria, one in NSW and the razor thin victory of Malcolm Turnbull.— Chris Uhlmann (@CUhlmann) April 5, 2017
Nutt's announcement has come just two days prior to the delivery of an internal review of the Coalition's 2016 election campaign, which the resigning Liberal Party Director was an integral part of.
"Federal Executive will meet later this week and will receive the report from Andrew Robb and his Committee on the 2016 election. Invariably a close result has been the subject of criticism. I am sure that Andrew Robb's committee will have a number of important recommendations," Nutt's statement read.
Tony Nutt's statement about resignation pic.twitter.com/HO1jnBPXXp— Kylar Loussikian (@kloussikian) April 5, 2017
"This is as it should be because all parties must continually refine and improve their activities to remain competitive in a robust democratic system like Australia's."
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described Nutt as a "dear friend and very wise counsel" to both himself and his wife Lucy for many years, who took over the directorship of the Federal Liberal Party in late 2015 under "very difficult circumstances".
PM Malcolm Turnbull confirms Tony Nutt's resignation. pic.twitter.com/3qgycuneL6— Latika M Bourke (@latikambourke) April 5, 2017
"It is customary nowadays to deprecate politics, politicians and above all political professionals. But the truth is they, and the parties they run, make our democracy work," Turnbull said.
"Tony's service over so many years is grounded in a deep love of Australia and an abiding commitment to our democratic values. I look forward to the next chapter of his remarkable career of public service."
Here's the NSW division of the Liberal Party on Tony Nutt's resignation pic.twitter.com/T71oxXvgMn— Kylar Loussikian (@kloussikian) April 5, 2017
The 59-year-old had served the Liberal Party for 39 years and his departure has come as a surprise to some of Nutt's closest confidantes within the party who heard the news from the media, Fairfax Media reported.
It currently remains unclear who will replace the outgoing Nutt.
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