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Another federal government minister has announced their departure from politics months out from an expected election. But another Liberal MP says there is not an “avalanche” of departures from the party. Liberal Michael Keenan will stand down at the election after 15 years in politics as the Member for Stirling in Perth. The Human Services and Digital Transformation minister said he was retiring to spend more time with his family, less than a week after Industrial Relations Minister Kelly O’Dwyer resigned, also citing family reasons. Mr Keenan said he has been “an absent father” and with a fourth child – a newborn – it was “unworkable” for his family. “Whilst politics is a proud vocation, it is also difficult and exhausting business,” he said in a statement on Friday. “The pressures on family life are formidable, as are the constant rigours of being an effective Member of Parliament, as well as a Minister in the Government.” Mr Keenan has previously held the justice and counter-terrorism portfolios. He insisted he remains “resolutely optimistic” about the coalition’s prospects at the election. Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman said missing out on things through the demands of politics, such as children’s birthdays, does take its toll. “It is really hard,” he told the ABC News channel on Saturday. “When you’re with family at Christmas time, you reflect on how important that is.” But he aimed to hose down suggestions there is a mass exodus. “We’ve seen two ministers, so I wouldn’t say that that’s an avalanche,” he said. Fellow Liberal ministers have paid tribute to Mr Keenan’s contribution to politics and the public. “We are sad to see him go, but entirely understand and respect the reasons for his decision,” Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said in a statement on Friday. “Michael Keenan is a great mate, has made a wonderful contribution to public life both as a MP & a Minister, and most importantly is a terrific husband and father,” Defence Industry Minister Steven Ciobo said on Twitter. Australian Associated Press



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