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Nicolle Flint to quit politics

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UPDATED | Federal SA Liberal MP Nicolle Flint is bowing out of politics and will not recontest her seat of Boothby.

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The member for Boothby will not contest the next federal election, in a move that will put the Coalition under pressure to retain the marginal southern suburbs seat, which was strongly targeted by Labor and GetUp! campaigns at the 2019 poll.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison tonight paid tribute to the second-term backbencher, saying she had been “an invaluable member of the Liberal team and my Government”.

“Nicolle has been a strong champion for Boothby and South Australia in the Liberal Party Room and the Federal Parliament,” he said in a statement around 9.30pm SA time.

“I want to thank Nicolle for her service to the Federal Parliament, particularly in her role as a Deputy Whip and her committee work, and for her service to her community.

“Nicolle has delivered not just on local projects like the Oaklands Crossing and the Flinders Link Rail, but also in her advocacy for people battling endometriosis and managing the loss felt from stillbirth.

“The public attention from being a parliamentarian does sometimes attract unacceptable behaviour, and I have admired Nicolle’s efforts to stand against the bullying and nastiness of particular groups and individuals.

“Throughout those experiences however, Nicolle has kept a laser focus on her community and delivering for the people of Boothby and South Australia.

“Nicolle is an impressive and passionate Parliamentarian who was the first woman elected to represent Boothby, and she has brought strong experience from her previous career to the role.”

He said she would serve the remainder of this term of parliament, and that the party would work “to ensure we put forward a Liberal candidate who brings the same high-calibre qualities to the people of Boothby as she has”.

Flint, 42, is a key member of SA’s Right faction, and her departure will further weaken the group’s influence in the state party.

She did not respond to inquiries earlier tonight, but senior party sources had confirmed to InDaily she had informed party powerbrokers of her decision.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that Flint sent her branch members an email saying she had “informed the Prime Minister and the Liberal Party that I will not be re-nominating for the seat of Boothby at the forthcoming election”.

“I will continue to work hard to serve you and my local community until the next election,” she reportedly said.

“I will work to support the candidate who is pre-selected by our Liberal party members to ensure we return a Liberal government, led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, to guide our nation to out of the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.”

Labor’s 2019 candidate in Boothby, Nadia Clancy, reduced Flint’s margin under two per cent, however she was last year preselected for the Liberal-held state seat of Elder.

Liberal state director Sascha Meldrum, in a statement late on Friday night, thanked Flint “for her service to the Federal Parliament and for her dedicated service to her community of Boothby”.

A proposal to extend the closure date for nominations for Boothby will be decided by the party’s Executive this week,” she said.

Flint made national headlines last year when she went on the offensive in response to a newspaper column by Peter Goers, who she said targeted her for her attire.

Her shock move comes just hours after state Labor MP Jayne Stinson quit the Opposition frontbench, citing personal reasons.

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