Jodi McKay leaves politics with 'what-ifs' but no regrets, the former NSW Labor leader told the parliament as she gave her final speech as an MP.
There were tears and laughter in the Legislative Assembly as the member for Strathfield called time on her career, with almost 15 years in parliament and experience spanning nine portfolios under her belt.
Her decision to leave parliament comes months after the 52-year-old relinquished her position as NSW Labor leader, after a damaging by-election loss in the Upper Hunter in May.
In a tearful news conference at the time, Ms McKay - the first democratically elected NSW Labor leader - said she felt forced to quit, claiming she was destabilised by some of her colleagues.
Giving her valedictory speech on Tuesday, Ms McKay took one final, thinly veiled shot at her successor Chris Minns.
She noted her inaugural speech in 2007 had ended with a quote from French revolutionary Georges Danton, who was arrested, tried and executed by a handful of his fellow rebels.
On Tuesday, she quoted him again.
"As Danton also said, 'I would rather be guillotined than the guillotiner'."
"I leave my office with a few what-ifs but certainly no regrets.
"I leave with my head held high," she said, crying.
Raised in the small town of Gloucester in the Hunter region, Ms McKay was elected to the seat of Newcastle in 2007, going on to hold a number of junior ministerial responsibilities in the Rees and Keneally governments.
She lost her seat at the 2011 election, later telling an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry her opponents had campaigned against her after she refused to accept - and reported to police - an alleged bribe in relation to a proposed coal terminal.
She returned to parliament as the member for Strathfield in 2015 and took over from Michael Daley as party leader in 2019, holding an array of shadow ministries in that time too.
Championing internal reform within the party, embracing multicultural communities and rebuilding Labor's relationship with the bush are among her key achievements, Ms McKay said.
"For me, it's about the people always about the people. They have been my priority."
It was also a "tremendous honour" to have represented two electorates, she said.
Ms McKay thanked premier Dominic Perrottet for his kind words when she announced her resignation, acknowledged the leadership of former premier Gladys Berejiklian, and wished new deputy Labor leader Prue Car all the best.
But she did not mention Mr Minns, who reportedly hung up on her when she called to inform him of her decision.
Ms McKay is the fifth MP to quit in a month after Ms Berejiklian resigned amid an ICAC investigation on October 1.
She on Tuesday admitted many believed the end of her career had come to soon, but said she was positive her time had come.
"I'm confident in my decision, proud of my achievements, and ready and excited about the next chapter in my life, whatever that may be," she said.
A by-election for Strathfield will be held at a date to be announced.
Australian Associated Press
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