Former Victorian innovation minister Philip Dalidakis has quit state Parliament with immediate effect to take up a new role at Australia Post.
Mr Dalidakis handed in his resignation as the Labor member representing the Southern Metropolitan Region early on Monday afternoon, confirming the news a few hours later in a Facebook post.
His immediate resignation means that the Andrews Government will be down by a crucial vote until Mr Dalidakis’ replacement in the upper house is found.
Mr Dalidakis had served as Victoria innovation minister during the last term in government, but was demoted from Cabinet following Labor’s crushing election win late last year, with Premier Daniel Andrews saying Mr Dalidakis had stepped aside to make way for more women.
At the time, Mr Andrews said that Mr Dalidakis might return to Cabinet at some point.
But Mr Dalidakis has now quit Parliament entirely, and will be starting in his new role at Australia Post from the beginning of July.
In an email to employees on Monday afternoon, Australia Post chief executive Christine Holgate confirmed that Mr Dalidakis would take on the role of executive general manager of corporate services.
“Philip’s deep leadership experience will be a great addition to our executive team. It is a great reflection of how much our Australia Post brand is deeply admired and respected that someone of Philip’s background is excited about taking this position,” Ms Holgate said in the email statement.
Mr Dalidakis will report directly to Ms Holgate as a member of Australia Post’s executive team.
Mr Dalidakis has been on the backbench since the election in November last year, and served as the chair of the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee as recently as last week.
He facilitated the signing of a number of agreements between the Victorian government and Australia Post during his time as a state Minister with an aim of assisting local companies to trade in China.
Australia Post was also under the remit of Mr Dalidakis’ former boss, former federal communications minister Stephen Conroy.
The Victorian government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Australia Post in 2016 to help businesses in the state access the Chinese market through Alibaba when Mr Dalidakis was the minister. At the time, the former minister labelled the deal a “game-changer”.
A follow-up agreement was penned in May last year with Australia Post and its joint-venture with China Post, Sai Cheng Logistics International.
Mr Dalidakis also served as Minister for Trade and Investment, Digital Economy and Small Business during his time in the state cabinet.
Mr Dalidakis confirmed he had quit Parliament in a Facebook post on Monday afternoon, but did not outline his upcoming role in the private sector.
“Since stepping down from the ministry six months ago, I have had more time with my family, more time in my community and more time to reflect on my priorities and what I want to achieve and what I want to do,” he said in the post.
“In my inaugural speech, I said I would place my children first and in turn that would make me a better legislator, but in hindsight I didn’t. I allowed my work to dictate my life. I missed moments I’ll never get back, Parliamentary sitting dates saw me miss events that meant apologies became the norm and not the exception.
“If you are to do this job, you need to be all in. I can no longer say that I am and so it’s time to pass the baton on to someone that is.”
Mr Dalidakis led Victoria’s tech and startup policies during his time as innovation minister. He took on the role in 2015, and oversaw the launch of LaunchVic and a series of efforts to attract global tech companies to open offices in Melbourne.
He was also a strong advocate for the Apple “flagship” store at Federation Square that was eventually scrapped earlier this year after a series of setbacks and protests.
“It has been a great honour representing the region for over four and a half years and working as a minister for the majority of that time. I loved the portfolios I worked on and gave them everything I had,” Mr Dalidakis said in the Facebook post.
Mr Andrews put out a statement on Mr Dalidakis’ resignation on Monday afternoon.
“I want to thank him for his service, particularly during his time as minister for small business, trade and investment, and the digital economy, and most recently as chair of the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee,” Mr Andrews said. “I wish him and his family all the very best for the future.”