Linda Reynolds announces plans to quit politics in 2025

Linda Reynolds announces plans to quit politics in 2025


Western Australia Liberal senator Linda Reynolds has announced she will retire from federal parliament when her term ends in 2025.

On Monday, the former defence minister published a statement on her Facebook page declaring she would “not be nominating as a candidate for another term as a Liberal Senator for Western Australia.”

“For forty years I have proudly served my nation in the Army, in the Liberal Party, in defence industry, in Parliament and in Government,” she explained. “In my career after the Senate, I will continue to serve, but in new ways.”

Reynolds was elected to the Senate for Western Australia in 2014, and re-elected in 2016 and 2019. Prior to that, she’d spent more than a decade holding vice-president and treasury positions at various local WA Liberal Party divisions. 

Her first cabinet role came in mid-2019, serving under the Morrison government as Minister for Defence Industry. Over the next several years, she would serve in other portfolios, including Minister for Emergency Management, Minister for Government Services, Minister for Defence and Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. 

In her ‘Statement on Preselection’ published yesterday, Reynolds described her years serving in cabinet as “some of the most challenging times in our Nation’s recent history.”

She noted that being preselected and elected to the Senate was “a great honour and a privilege few Australians are afforded.”

“This is my tenth year in the Senate and my passion and commitment to my State and to my Nation remains as strong as ever.”

She went on to say it was “rare” for her to be in a position “to choose the time and circumstances of your departure,” and that her decision to leave politics was made “after considerable reflection of what is behind me and the opportunities that are now ahead of me.”

“Just as the health of our democracy can never be taken for granted, neither can the health of political parties – both must be constantly renewed and strengthened. I joined the Liberal Party over 35 years ago and my respect for, and belief in, the principles and values it was established on have only deepened over time.”

Addressing her party directly, she said that she “owe[s] the Liberal Party so much” and that she was “very grateful for the lifelong friendships I have made in the Party and for the overwhelming support I continue to receive from WA Liberal Party members and volunteers who have helped me over the last decade.”

In 2021, when she was Defence Minister, Reynolds faced intense scrutiny after former Liberal Party staffer Brittany Higgins alleged she was sexually assaulted by then colleague Bruce Lehrmann in Reynolds’ ministerial office. Higgins was working as a media advisor to Senator Reynolds at the time. When she told Reynolds about the rape, Reynolds was horrified, according to Higgins, and asked her if she intended to go to the police.

“She said, ‘If you choose to go to the police we will support you in that process, but we just need to know ahead of time. We need to know now’,” Higgins told

Lehrmann has continued to deny the allegations and pleaded not guilty to the alleged rape of Higgins.

In 2021, Reynolds publicly apologised to Higgins for calling her “a lying cow” in February of that year and agreed to cover the legal costs.

“[I] did not mean it in the sense it may have been understood,” she wrote in a statement posted on her socials. “Given that the comment was made public, which I never intended, I also want to retract it and unreservedly apologise to Brittany Higgins and acknowledge the hurt and distress it caused to her.” 

Reynolds also promised to make a donation to a sexual assault charity as part of a confidential settlement with her. 

A criminal trial of Bruce Lehrmann on one charge of sexual assault in 2022 was derailed in the ACT Supreme Court following juror misconduct. A second trial was aborted by prosecutors after concerns were raised for Higgins’ mental health.

In late 2022, lawyers for Higgins were reported to be preparing to bring a civil claim against Reynolds and former Attorney-General Michaelia Cash for sexual harassment, discrimination, disability discrimination, negligence and victimisation.

In December, Higgins reached a settlement with the Commonwealth, with “the parties [agreeing] that the terms of the settlement are confidential.” 

In January last year, Reynolds launched a defamation case against Higgins and her fiance, David Sharaz, over tweets her lawyers said caused damage that were “inaccurate and professionally damaging” and that “cannot be underestimated.”

Months later, Reynolds sent a defamation concerns notice to Tanya Plibersek following an interview on Sunrise where Plibersek claimed that the crime to which Higgins was subject to “had been inappropriately investigated, even covered up by her employers.”

Reynolds told Plibersek she could “make amends” and avoid legal action by issuing a signed apology, withdrawing her comments, paying Reynolds’ legal costs and providing an “appropriate sum to compensate my client for the damage caused by the publication” within 28 days.

Reynolds’ statement yesterday did not mention anything pertaining to Higgins or these cases. She did however insist that she would “keep working” with her party to “diversify and strengthen” it. 

“Having achieved more than I set out to when I entered the Senate, there is no perfect time to leave politics, but this is the right time for me and for the WA Liberal Party to provide my successor with the same opportunities it has given me,” she concluded. 

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Simon Birmingham applauded Reynolds’ “distinguished career” in both parliament and the military. 

“From her service in the Australian Army to her tenure as a Liberal Senator for Western Australia, Linda has been a steadfast champion for our nation’s defence, national security, and the advancement of Australia,” he said in a statement.

“Linda’s strength, courage and dignity have been remarked upon by many. I have no doubt that in the years ahead Linda will continue to unwaveringly serve her community and our nation.”

Liberal MP Melissa Price commented on Reynolds’ Facebook post, saying, “Thank you for your service to the party and Senate Linda, although I have no doubt that you will find other avenues to contribute to our great nation. My friend, you will be missed.”

Reynolds will remain in the Senate until her term ends in June 2025.


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