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Michael Danby bids farewell

10 Jul 2018

Michael Danby bids farewell Image

By David Schout

Melbourne Ports Labor MP Michael Danby has announced he will not contest the next federal election.

Despite being guaranteed preselection by the Labor Party, the seven-term member decided to retire citing “time for renewal”.

It brings to an end a 20-year career in the seat – soon to be renamed Macnamara – which takes in (among others) Southbank, port/coastal suburbs and several inner south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

In a statement Danby said it was a “privilege” to serve the area, the diversity of which has contributed to a “community that embodies the spirit of contemporary Australia”.

“In my maiden speech to the Parliament in October 1998, I noted the rich multicultural history of Melbourne Ports since World War II and I acknowledge it again today, along with its original working class culture and the edgy arty element,” Danby said.

“I have been inspired time and again by the stories of constituents who have overcome enormous odds to settle in Australia and to make a better life for themselves, as my own parents did.”

In making the announcement, the 63-year-old said on his Facebook page that, should he have run, he would have retained the seat.

“This is wholly my choice,” he wrote.

“I would have been pre-selected for the next election had I chosen to remain. Notwithstanding the seat is marginal, I also believe I could have won the seat for an eighth term.”

Danby’s monthly column can be seen on page 19.

Melbourne Ports/Macnamara is expected to be one of the closest-run races in the next election, and Danby said he will support whichever candidate is chosen.

“Whoever is the democratically selected candidate for the renamed seat will have my support right down to the wire of the next federal election.”

It is unclear at this stage who will contest the seat, although several media outlets have reported local councillor Mary Delahunty, former Danby staffer Josh Burns and academic Dr Nick Dyrenfurth are considering contesting.

Melbourne Ports has been a Labor seat since 1906 and at one stage was one of the party’s safest in the country owing to its position in Melbourne’s industrial suburbs.

Redistribution eastwards in 1990 changed the demographic and, with it, voting patterns.

Mr Danby retained Melbourne Ports in the 2016 election despite receiving just 27 per cent of primary votes, winning by just a 1.4 per cent margin with the help of Greens preferences.

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