The Hon Philip Ruddock MP has served the Australian people with distinction and has made an exceptional contribution to immigration policy and operation.
Mr Ruddock has announced today that he will not be contesting the next federal election and will take up a role as Special Envoy for Human Rights.
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said Philip Ruddock has the record as the nation's longest-serving Minister for Immigration and made a tremendous mark on the portfolio.
'When Philip took over the portfolio in 1996 under the new Howard Government, there was strong public concern about migrants and related matters,' Mr Dutton said.
'In a very short time, he restructured the migration programme to focus more on skilled migrants and the way in which they could contribute to the Australian economy. Public sentiment changed and all subsequent governments have followed his lead.
'People smugglers tried to gain a foothold in 1998, but Mr Ruddock showed leadership and resolve to protect Australia's humanitarian programme and the boats stopped shortly after.
'Philip has been a voice for greater international support for refugee programmes and I am sure in his new role he will continue to prosecute that case.
'He has been a great mentor to me and has become a close friend and confidante in my role and to other Members and Senators. I wish him well in his new role.'