History-making Liberal senator Marise Payne to retire

The longest-serving female senator in Australian history is retiring from federal politics.

Marise Payne will leave parliament at the end of September after more than 26 years as a senator. 

The former foreign minister said it had been an "extraordinary honour" to represent the community.

"To have had the privilege to have served as long as I have, and in the process to have become Australia's longest-serving female senator in history, is something of which I am very proud," she said in a statement on Friday.

Opposition upper house leader Simon Birmingham paid tribute to Senator Payne. 

"Personally, I could not have asked for a better friend or more trustworthy confidante throughout my senate career," he said.

"Again and again, Marise has shown her respect for the institution of the Senate, the primacy of the parliament and the unique role of each parliamentarian."

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said Senator Payne had not only been a "wonderful colleague" but also a dear friend who engaged in the battle of ideas in the Liberal Party tradition.

"I wish Marise a wonderful retirement and I know that in the next phase of her career, she will continue to do brilliant and bold things for our nation in the best interests of the Australian people," he said.

Senator Payne became the first woman to be appointed Australia's defence minister in 2015 and was the second woman to serve as foreign affairs minister.

She has been a senator for NSW since April 1997.

A leading moderate in the Liberal Party, Senator Payne has kept a low profile since the coalition lost power at the federal election in 2022.

Prominent voice to parliament 'no' campaigner Warren Mundine is one of two frontrunners to replace Senator Payne, with former NSW minister Andrew Constance another likely contender.

Liberal MP Paul Fletcher said the opportunity to work with Senator Payne was "very special" with the pair friends since their university days.

"She is an inspiration to so many, and an outstanding role model for girls and women with an interest in public service," he said.

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