Long-serving MP takes flight

Gordon Rich-Phillips as Aviation Industry Minister in 2013. 102118_01 Picture: TOMMY RITCHIE

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

Upper House Liberal MP and former Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips will end his 23-year tenure in State Parliament this year.

On Friday 17 June, the South Eastern Metropolitan MP announced he would not re-contest his seat in November’s state election.

Mr Rich-Phillips was first elected for the then-Eumemmerring Province in 1999 as a 25 year old – the youngest person elected to the Legislative Council.

Serving as Assistant Treasurer, Technology Minister and Aviation Industry Minister in 2010-’14 was the “ultimate opportunity to make a difference for Victoria”, he said.

“I am proud to have delivered initiatives spanning technology, ICT in government, WorkCover, finance, and regional aviation.

“I wish Matthew Guy and my Liberals and Nationals colleagues and candidates every success for the November 2022 election.”

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said Mr Rich-Phillips was a “passionate advocate” for upgrading rural airports.

“As a pilot himself, he was able to bring real change and vital support to a sector of our transport industry that is often overlooked.

“Over a number of terms of parliament he’s become one of the most skillful and knowledgeable MPs in the operation of the Upper House, a genuine respect which is shown from across the whole parliament.

“Gordon is a friend to many in the party.

“He’s a well-liked, very well respected colleague and his loss will be a big one for the Liberal Party.”

Mr Rich-Phillips nominated personal highlights such as saving Victorian businesses more than $340 million with WorkCover reforms and premium reductions, and helping to deliver four surplus budgets in Government.

As Technology Minister, he reformed how ICT was purchased and used by the State Government and helped attract jobs and private-sector investment in ICT, biotech and small tech sectors, he said.

Mr Rich-Phillips rose to Opposition deputy leader in the Legislative Council.

He also chaired the Standing Committee on Finance and Public Administration, and select committees inquiring into the Port of Melbourne privatisation, the fire-services restructure, and the issue of lotteries licences.

He was also a member of the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee for 11 years.

He thanked voters, his family, his staff and Liberal members.

“In particular I thank the preselectors who put their faith in a 25-year-old candidate in 1999.

“I hope I have repaid that faith.”