National

ALP veteran Macklin retires from politics

By AAP Newswire

Former Rudd and Gillard government minister Jenny Macklin has announced she is retiring from federal politics.

The veteran Labor MP has held the Melbourne seat of Jagajaga for 22 years and served on the government or opposition frontbench during that time.

"As the longest serving Labor woman in the House of Representatives, ever, 'It's Time', as Gough so famously said, for me to move on," Ms Macklin said in a statement on Friday.

"It's also time for the next generation. Although I still want to contribute to policy debates, it's time for me to step back."

While she will be departing parliament, Ms Macklin will not be stepping back from public policy or public life.

"I will continue to do all I can for my local community and to be an advocate for a more equal Australia," she said.

Elected to the north-east Melbourne seat of Jagajaga in 1996, Ms Macklin, 64, went on to serve as deputy Labor leader to Kim Beazley.

She served as Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs for six years and Minister for Disability Reform for two years.

"Every political party in Australia wishes they had a Jenny Macklin," Labor leader Bill Shorten said on Friday.

"But only Labor has been blessed with her extraordinary mind, her caring heart and her fearless love of the good fight. How lucky we have been."

Labor's Tony Burke said Ms Macklin had been "the most significant contributor to Labor policy" of the last two decades.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull paid tribute to the Labor MP.

"She's had a very long and distinguished career in the federal parliament," he said.

"We'll miss her in the next parliament, but I wish her well in her retirement from politics."