Greens Senator for South Australia Penny Wright has announced she will be stepping aside, due to illness in the family.
"I have thought very carefully about this step. I am disappointed to be leaving the Senate and my colleagues but I know that this is the right decision for my family and me," said Senator Wright.
"As a founding member of the Greens in South Australia, I'm proud of what our party has achieved so far and I know that we have high quality candidates who will be nominating as my replacement.
"I will remain in my role until the Party has chosen a successor to fill the casual vacancy and contest the next election.
"I thank the SA Greens for putting their faith in me, and for allowing me the honour of representing our wonderful state in the Federal Parliament.
"I am proud of my achievements - including introducing the concept of Justice Reinvestment to South Australia to reduce the disproportionate rate of Aboriginal people in our jails. Since the establishment of the SA Justice Reinvestment Working Group, following a roundtable I convened in 2012 and my initial discussion with Attorney General Rau the same year, the government has now announced a commitment to two Justice Reinvestment pilot programs.
"I am also proud of advocating for the Mental Health needs of rural people throughout Australia. There is still much to be done in this area to ensure they receive their fair share of services, and this is certainly the case in rural South Australia where clinical and community-based services are in short supply.
"I have stood with the Kangaroo Island community to protect their environment and economy against oil and gas exploration; I have helped Peacekeepers to secure their right to be acknowledged on the Honour Roll of the Australian War Memorial, and I have defended Human Rights and liberties in the face of relentless attacks by both Labor and Coalition governments in the name of so-called ‘border protection' and national security.
"While there are many things I was still keen to achieve, it has been an absolute privilege to serve South Australians in the Senate and I am confident that my successor will continue to bring the Greens values that are important to me into the Federal Parliament," Senator Wright said.
Greens Leader Richard Di Natale says:
"I know that the decision to step down has been an incredibly difficult one for Penny to make, and while I am disappointed for her, I understand her reasons and fully support her decision."
"Penny has made an enormous contribution during her time as an Australian Greens Senator for South Australia and I speak for all of my colleagues when I say she will be sorely missed."
"Penny has been a tireless advocate for justice, mental health services and the human rights and liberties of the entire Australian community - particularly in recent times as they have been attacked by both Labor and Coalition governments.
"As a friend and colleague I will miss her greatly, but I know she'll continue her important work outside Parliament, and I look forward to seeing more of the valuable contributions she makes to our community."