UPDATED 4 pm: Tributes have flowed from Labor and the Greens today for outgoing Canberra Liberals MLA Giulia Jones.
ACT Greens Leader Shane Rattenbury described Mrs Jones as someone who had always shown real dedication to her beliefs and her community.
“She always brought a real conviction to debates in the Assembly and my colleagues also appreciated her advocacy as a Member for Murrumbidgee; in particular, being able to work together with her in the multi-party effort to save Coolo Park,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“We wish Mrs Jones and her family the best for the future, without the time and work pressures that being an elected representative of our community can bring.”
On social media, Labor MLA and Minister for Human Rights Tara Cheyne thanked Mrs Jones for her years of service.
“I have always appreciated your good humour and determination. It hasn’t been the same without you these past months,” Ms Cheyne wrote.
The ACT Electoral Commission will be required to conduct a countback of the votes over the next few days to determine who will replace Mrs Jones.
It’s likely former Liberal candidate Amardeep Singh will be the frontrunner if he still wants the position.
UPDATED 1 pm: Former Deputy Opposition Leader Giulia Jones has not ruled out returning to politics in the future, but says her immediate plans revolve around her family.
“Ten years is a fair stint in the Assembly and I want to leave now, having left a positive contribution behind,” Ms Jones told Region Media this afternoon.
“It’s just the right time for me to say goodbye to this chapter. And, as they say in politics, you go out at the time of your own choosing or you get unceremoniously dumped. I know which one I’d prefer.”
As she had in her social media post this morning, Mrs Jones cited a number of family commitments and changes that have occurred in her personal life in recent months as having contributed to her decision to leave the ACT Legislative Assembly.
The Canberra Liberals MLA was first elected to the Assembly a decade ago when she had four children. That number has now grown to six and those once-small children are now entering their teenage years – a time Mrs Jones described as “an important one in their lives”, and one she wants to be there for.
“It’s easy for someone else to give your baby a bottle, but dealing with questions of ‘where do I fit in the world?’ and ‘what should I do next in my life?’ takes a lot of time. Teenagers really need you and I want to give more of my time and energy to my teenagers now,” she said.
Mrs Jones has also experienced some health challenges of her own in recent times.
Along with current Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee, Mrs Jones was part of the ACT’s first all-female leadership team, although it’s understood there had been some differences in ‘style’ between the pair in recent times.
Mrs Jones noted her role as a politician had also taken its toll on her personally in terms of being subject to “abuse and attacks in many forms – both inside and outside of parliament”, and acknowledged the difficulty facing the Canberra Liberals who have now been in Opposition for just over two decades.
She did, however, categorically rule out returning to the ACT Legislative Assembly in the future.
“I am grateful for my time there and who knows what is next?” Mrs Jones said.
Following her announcement this morning, Mrs Jones’ social media had been busy with community members thanking her for her service and wishing her well in the future.
11:30 am: Former deputy Opposition Leader Giulia Jones has resigned from the ACT Legislative Assembly.
Mrs Jones announced her decision on social media this morning (24 May).
She stepped down as deputy leader in January and has been on leave since being replaced in that role by former Liberals’ Leader Jeremy Hanson.
She cited “family commitments and health reasons” as the reason behind her departure.
“I thank both the Liberal Party and the voters of Murrumbidgee for the support you have given me and the trust you placed in me to represent you in this Parliament for almost a decade,” Mrs Jones said in a statement.
She thanked her husband, Bernard, for his support as “her rock”.
The mum-of-six said one of her greatest achievements was normalising being a mother in the ACT Legislative Assembly.
Mrs Jones was the first person to breastfeed on the chamber floor, a milestone she achieved in 2018 with her fifth child Maximus.
She will give her valedictory speech in the next sitting week at the Assembly’s convenience before handing the appropriate paperwork to the Speaker.
Mrs Jones said she will remain a member of the Liberal Party.
Her resignation will lead to a recount in her electorate of Murrumbidgee.
Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee paid tribute to Giulia for all her hard work and service to the people of Murrumbidgee over the last decade.
“Giulia has fought tirelessly on a number of local issues that were of great importance to our community,” Ms Lee said.
“This includes her continued calls for shops at Coombs and Molonglo Valley and better community facilities for people at Woden.
“Giulia will be remembered for her fierce advocacy for women and families and was a great role model for working mums.”
Ms Lee wished the family well in the future.