PATERSON MP Bob Baldwin is disappointed to be dropped from the Coalition government ministry but has vowed to continue representing his electorate.
As widely predicted, Mr Baldwin will lose his role as parliamentary secretary to the minister for the environment, a position he has held since December 23.
He was previously parliamentary secretary for industry from September 2013 and held a similar role during the last two years of the Howard government.
Mr Baldwin said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull contacted him by phone late on Sunday morning.
About half an hour later, he posted the news on Twitter and Facebook, saying: ‘‘Just informed that I am no longer a member of the Executive Government, I thank the Liberal Party for the opportunity to have served.’’
Mr Baldwin said he posted the news on social media so his friends and supporters heard it from him before they learnt of it from other sources. He agreed a return to the backbench involved a pay cut but said money had never been a motivation in politics.
He said that with his time as a shadow minister included, he had been on the executive of government and opposition for nine of his 17years in Parliament.
‘‘It has been an honour but it does come with constraints, being that you can’t speak out against your own government,’’ he said.
Referring to the Williamtown RAAF base contamination controversy, Mr Baldwin said he had ‘‘advocated’’ behind closed doors but could now speak more openly for the community.
He said the RAAF had also acknowledged a contamination issue at the Oakey base in Queensland and said the type of chemicals in question had been widely used where fire fighting techniques were practised.