Ian Macfarlane, former Abbott government minister, to quit federal politics

Federal Liberal MP and former industry minister Ian Macfarlane has announced he is quitting politics, saying sitting on the backbench was no longer an option.

The Queensland MP is the fourth Liberal to announce their retirement from politics in the past week.

Mr Macfarlane has held the seat of Groom for 18 years, nine of which he spent as a Cabinet minister and minister.

He was demoted to the backbench after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull took over from Tony Abbott last year, and his attempted shift to the Nationals was blocked in December by the state executive.

Mr Macfarlane, 60, told ABC Rural he could not stay on and “be a passenger in politics”.

“If I’m not involved in Cabinet with my depth of experience and knowledge, I need to use that somewhere where it’s going be of value,” he said.

“Quite frankly, I thought I would probably have done all I could, and sitting on the backbench wasn’t an option for me.”

Mr Macfarlane said he had made his decision late last year and announced it now in order to give his party time to find a replacement.”There comes a time when you know you have given all you have got, and rather than just be a passenger, it’s time to get off and let someone else drive,” he said.

“When I look back on politics, it will be on the positive things.”

In a statement, he said the time was right “to pass the baton”.

“After 32 years in public life in agripolitics and politics, I will now be looking for new challenges to use my wealth of knowledge and experience in the resources, industry and science sectors for the betterment of our great nation,” he said.

Mr Macfarlane adds to a number of recent high profile resignations, including former trade minister Andrew Robb, former small business minister Bruce Billson and outgoing deputy prime minister Warren Truss.