Deputy Victorian Nationals leader Steph Ryan to quit politics

Deputy Victorian Nationals leader Steph Ryan will announce her retirement from state politics on Wednesday.

Ryan, 36, was elected to the Victorian Parliament eight years ago and was immediately elevated to the deputy position of the junior Coalition partner. She was expected to eventually take over the leadership of the Victorian Nationals.

Victorian Nationals deputy leader Steph Ryan will quit politics in November. Credit:Eddie Jim

Ryan confirmed to The Age that she will quit parliament in November.

The senior Nationals MP, who held the shadow portfolios of water, public transport and roads, and gaming and liquor regulation, is pregnant with her second child, who is due after the state election.

Ryan’s departure from state parliament will come as a blow to the Victorian Coalition, which lost several senior MPs during the 2018 election and has been struggling in the polls just five months out from the state election.

Several senior Victorian MPs from across the political divide have announced their retirement from politics recently.

In 2020, Ryan told The Age she was cognisant of the reputational damage the federal party’s stance – and internal bickering – on climate change was having on the Victorian brand. State Nationals leader Peter Walsh has been at the forefront of distancing the state party from the federal Nationals Party.

“Rural and regional Victoria is on the front line of seeing the impacts of climate change, and our communities are really mindful of what that means for us in the future,” she said in 2020.

“The motion we passed at last year’s [2019] state conference was basically acknowledging the impacts of climate change on our communities and calling for policy development around that, which we’re engaged in doing and will do over the next couple of years to make sure that we do have a platform to take to the next state election, because it is a pressing issue for our communities on a whole range of fronts.”

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