Former education minister Alan Tudge is set to quit politics, less than a year after just clinging on to his seat of Aston.
The MP for the outer-eastern Melbourne seat of Aston has endured several political scandals in recent years and his departure will not come as a major surprise to colleagues.
He had not been sitting in parliament this week for the resumption of the political year, but returned to Canberra on Thursday and is expected to announce his retirement after question time.
Tudge refused to comment when approached by this masthead.
Former treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Liberal City of Melbourne councillor Roshena Campbell are among the early front-runners for the Victorian seat.
If Frydenberg were to run and win the seat of Aston, it would mark an extraordinarily fast return to politics and bolster the Coalition frontbench. Campbell, who is also a barrister and columnist for The Age ran in preselection for the seat of Casey ahead of the last election but missed out to now-MP Aaron Violi. Were she to be pre-selected and win the seat, it would add female talent to Liberal ranks and begin to address a major problem identified in the Coalition’s post-election review.
Several of Tudge’s colleagues, who asked not to be named so they could speak freely, said they were not surprised by news of his expected resignation.
“I thought it was coming, we were not expecting him to run again,” one said.
Tudge was largely absent from the campaign trail at the May election after a term in which he stood aside from cabinet after his former lover and staffer Rachelle Miller accused him of being emotionally abusive and at one point physically abusive. He denied the claims and two inquiries made no findings against him.