Ryan Smith calls it a day
by SANDI MILLER
5th June 2023
THE ELECTORATE of Warrandyte will be going to a byelection following the shock retirement of Ryan Smith MP.
You can read his resignation statement below.
Mr Smith has been the Member for Warrandyte since 2006, after retaining the seat for the Liberal party following the retirement of Phil Honeywood, who had held it since 1988.
Mr Smith joined the opposition frontbench in 2008 and was Minister for Environment and Climate Change and Minister for Youth Affairs during the Baillieu and Napthine governments.
He has served on the frontbench in opposition and has been Shadow Minister for Finance, for Planning and Heritage and for Suburban Recovery.
Following last year’s election in November, Smith had flagged his intention to run for the Liberal leadership, but eventually pulled out of the race.
The resignation will trigger a byelection, which will be seen as a test of Opposition Leader John Pesutto’s leadership.
The Liberals expect the byelection to be held in mid to late August.
Pesutto spoke to the media following the announcement and said he learned of Smith’s resignation like the wider public, by reading his statement.
“I think we all need to respect the way Ryan wanted to own the way he wanted to make these announcements,” he said.
He said the Liberals will “throw everything” at Warrandyte to retain the seat.
I’ll be working, obviously, with the membership and the leadership of the organisational side of the party to make sure we choose the strongest candidate.
“I would very much like to see a woman in amongst the candidates”, Mr Pesutto said.
Several women have already been understood to be lining up for the seat, including the Liberal federal vice-president Caroline Inge, Manningham Councillor Michelle Kleinert, and owner of Bramleigh Estate, Mary-Anne Lowe.
Former Manningham Mayor, Councillor Andrew Conlon is also putting his hand up for Liberal preselection.
There is also talk around former MP for Kew, Tim Smith, who resigned from the Liberal party following a drunken car crash, who has stated he is thinking of running for preselection for the seat.
It is also unclear whether the Labor Party will contest the byelection, but the party’s success at the Aston byelection has given some ALP supporters hope of another upset.
Previous Labor candidate for Warrandyte Naomi Oakley said she was not ruling out a run.
“Whilst I will always take any opportunity to advocate for my community, the ALP will make a decision in coming weeks about whether to contest this byelection.”
Raymond “the Snake Man” Hoser has announced he will be running in the upcoming byelection as an independent.
He released a statement saying he will be running on a centrist platform of ethics, economics, law and order, and environment.
Hoser said: “I am needed to deal with the snakes in the Victorian parliament”.
He said that only with a strong independent elected to the seat will the local area be properly represented.
The Liberals currently hold Warrandyte by a 4.2 per cent margin, so is considered safe Liberal.
People from across the electorate, and beyond, have extended their best wishes to Mr Smith.
Mr Smith’s Federal counterpart, Member for Menzies, Keith Wolahan thanked him for “outstanding service to our community and our state”.
“Wishing you and your wonderful family the very best for what comes next,” Mr Wolahan said.
Both Park Orchards Rate Payers Association and Park Orchards Market Committee took to social media to thank Mr Smith for his dedicated service to the electorate.
Manningham Council released a statement acknowledging and thanking Ryan Smith for 16 years of dedicated service to the Manningham community as the Member for Warrandyte.
Mayor of Manningham, Cr Deirdre Diamante said: “As a former Minister and active local member his impact has been meaningful and significant.
“We wish Ryan and his family all the best in the future.”
Cr Diamante said Council will “use the upcoming byelection to continue to strongly advocate for improvements to roads, transport, services and infrastructure for the Warrandyte electorate”. Prior to politics, Smith spent 18 years in the financial markets working for a number of Australia’s leading institutions before winning election to Parliament in 2006.
His last job before parliament was as Manager of Institutional Banking Service for the Commonwealth Bank.
He says he will be returning to a role in the corporate sector.
Ryan Smith announces retirement from Parliament
IT IS WITH mixed emotions that I have informed the Speaker of my intention to resign from the Parliament of Victoria, with my formal resignation date being July 7.
After over 16 years serving as the Member for Warrandyte, and with a great deal of consideration, I have decided it is time to bring this chapter of my life to a close.
I have been privileged to hold this role and believe that many who choose this career do so with their communities’ best interests in mind.
However, amongst other reasons, I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the growing negative tone of politics, both internally and more broadly.
My role as a community representative has brought me into contact with an amazing array of people throughout the electorate, and I have valued the opportunity to work with and for them all.
I have held over a dozen shadow portfolios through the years of Opposition and, again, the stakeholders connected to these have been a pleasure to meet, and I appreciate everything that they took the time to teach me.
It is important to recognise former Premiers, Ted Baillieu and Denis Napthine, who allowed me to sit at the Cabinet table with them as Minister for the Environment and Minister for Youth Affairs.
I am very grateful for their confidence in me.
Some further words of thanks
Firstly, to my local community – thank you for your support over five election victories.
My hope is that you believed I did my best to represent you and to be responsive to your needs.
Whenever the cut and thrust of politics made me question my career choices, spending time in our community always gave me the positive answer why.
Working as your representative and advocate has been an enormous honour and pleasure.
To my parliamentary colleagues – thank you to those who I have worked alongside over the years.
Particular thanks to those with whom I have developed firm friendships; your companionship and good humour has always been a valued asset.
To the Liberal Party – I am constantly impressed by the people who make up the membership of our great Party.
Thank you to those who have supported my preselections, and to all of those who have put up their hand to help me and the Party right across the state.
Whether it be handing out How to Vote cards or nominating to be a candidate, you are the foundation of our movement. I ask you to never forget our values and principles and to remind those who do.
To the press – thank you for the relationship we have had.
I have found the vast majority of you to be honest, forthright and fair.
You are an integral part of the political process and I welcome your increased willingness to scrutinise those matters which need a light shone on them.
To my many supporters and friends – thank you for everything you have done to support my campaigns, for your wise counsel and your faith in me.
To my staff – these are the people at our Electorate Office’s frontline, the ones who make the first impressions which are pivotal to how we are viewed by our community.
I could not have asked for better.
Thank you to all those who have worked with me over the years, but particular thanks to those who are working with me now.
Helen, who was been with me from the beginning and who has been a treasured confidante.
Marty, whose good humour and patience when dealing with our constituents has made him an invaluable part of our team.
Antonietta, whose infectious enthusiasm always brightens our day
Thank you to each of you.
Finally, a special thank you to my wife, Avril, and my children, Brodie and Jaime.
My son was one when I entered politics and my daughter was born into it.
I am exceedingly proud of both of them and they have been, not only the lift I need when I get home, but a big reason why I work to try to make things better for our community.
Avril – thank you for supporting me on this journey, which is just a part of our lives together.
I could not have asked for a better companion through these years, and I am looking forward to the next stage of our lives together.
I wish the next Member for Warrandyte the very best of luck and remain optimistic that the contest of ideas will ultimately provide Victoria with its best days ahead.
I will not be making further public comment at this stage.