The former Australian treasurer Josh Frydenberg has confirmed he will not attempt to return to politics at the next federal election.
Goldman Sachs said on Thursday that Frydenberg is set to become chairman of the investment bank in Australia and New Zealand. Frydenberg joined the company after losing the blue ribbon Victorian seat of Kooyong at the last election to the teal independent Monique Ryan.
Frydenberg had been signalling his intention to remain in the private sector to close confidantes in recent weeks. He communicated this plan to the opposition leader, Peter Dutton, on Thursday morning.
Frydenberg told Kooyong branch members in a letter choosing not to nominate for preselection was a “difficult decision and one I have been weighing up for some time”.
He noted his former seat – now held by an independent – would always “have a special place in the Liberal party’s heart” and he said he was “proud of our Liberal values and what we were able to achieve together locally and federally as part of the Abbott, Turnbull, and Morrison governments.”
But the former treasurer said he wanted to prioritise “precious time” with his wife and young children. Not foreclosing on options to rejoin public life in the future, Frydenberg said he would “remain in touch”.
Frydenberg’s decision to remain on the sidelines for the foreseeable future represents a sliding doors moment for the Liberal party, because it removes a future leadership candidate capable of securing support from both the right and moderate wings.
The opposition leader Peter Dutton wished Frydenberg well. “We thank him for what he’s done for our country and for our party and we wish him every success in the next stage of his career,” the Liberal leader told reporters.
“He’s a young man still and hopefully he can work his way back into public life at some point,” Dutton said. “But he’s announced today he’s not going to contest the seat of Kooyong at the next election.”
Dutton said his former cabinet colleague had made a significant contribution during his time in public life and had “obviously impressed the people that he’s gone on to work with, and that’s why he’s been offered a promotion there”.
Goldman Sachs said in a statement that Frydenberg had “had a distinguished political career in Australia”.
The company said Frydenberg would “focus on further deepening and strengthening client coverage across the Australia and New Zealand region” and “continue to offer advice on economic and geopolitical issues as the firm’s senior regional advisor for Asia Pacific.”
Rod Kemp, Kooyong’s federal electorate conference chair, characterised Frydenberg as “a tireless and popular local member”. He said electors and community groups in Kooyong “undoubtedly miss his sympathetic and effective representation of the electorate”.
“We are grateful for his stellar contribution to the Liberal party and Australian politics and I know I speak for many when I say we hope this is not the end of his contribution to public life.”