Smith still confident of win

Stephen Smith
Stephen Smith

After announcing his retirement last week, Mr Smith spent the weekend in Perth and spoke to three potential candidates ” City of Vincent Mayor Alannah MacTiernan, Tim Hammond and Matt Keogh, who are both lawyers.

Mr Smith said any of the three would be good candidates.

He said he would not take part in the selection process but would act as election campaign manager.

‘Alannah of course has got a proven track record but the other two are young, keen, capable and intelligent, so they would all be very good members,’ he said.

‘Whoever is the candidate, it’ll be tough but we (Labor) can hold the seat.’

Nominations to run as the Labor candidate for Perth close on Thursday, with a decision expected on Monday, July 15.

Mr Smith said his decision to retire from politics after 30 years, 20 of which were spent as Perth MHR, was due to the onerous nature of continuous travel between Perth and Canberra.

‘It wasn’t because of the change in leadership, it was because of the circumstances those events of the previous 48 hours had enabled all of my thoughts to crystallise,’ he said.

‘I just couldn’t bear the thought of getting on the plane again for another three years.’

Mr Smith said his wife Jane and children Hugo and Maddie were in Canberra when he made the decision.

He said he was leaving politics with no regrets and was looking forward to continue working as Defence Minister and campaign manager until the upcoming election.

‘The real adjustment for me will be waking up on a Sunday morning after the election, whether that be August, September or October, and I’ll have no defence responsibility, no ALP responsibility and I’ll be a private citizen,’ Mr Smith said.

He said he did not know what he would do post-politics, but ruled out working as an Australian ambassador to a foreign country.