Macquarie Fields MP Andrew McDonald believes the quote from Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès during the French Revolution — translated to English as ‘‘I survived’’ — sums up his eight-year political career.
‘‘I’m leaving with my health and reputation,’’ he said.
Dr McDonald is a rare breed.
Despite belonging to the Labor Party, even many of the staunchest of Liberal Party supporters can’t help but like him, or at least, respect him.
But on Saturday, March 28 he will bid politics farewell to concentrate on the two greatest loves in his life — family and medicine.
While it was his passion for health that led him to state parliament, it was the time spent away from his family that led to his decision not to contest the seat of Macquarie Fields at this Saturday’s election.
‘‘I love parliament, it’s a great job and I enjoy everyday, but it’s very hard on family life,’’ he said.
Unlike many MPs, Dr McDonald’s opinions weren’t shaped or influenced by those in his party.
That was evident when he and the Advertiser joined forces in 2009 to wage a war against his Labor Party Government and its attempts to sell off the land Hurlstone Agricultural High School was located on.
‘‘It takes a lot to stand up against your own government but I couldn’t have done it without the local media,’’ he said.
‘‘Taking on your own government without allies is impossible.
‘‘[The proposed sale] was a stupid idea.’’
It wasn’t the only time Dr McDonald clashed with his colleagues.
‘‘There are a bunch of constituents who came to me over the years with what I thought were reasonable beefs with the government,’’ he said.
‘‘I’d write to the ministers but I wouldn’t get much help.
‘‘It’s sad that there have been people I haven’t been able to help.’’
Liberal Party MPs weren’t spared from his cross-hairs either.
‘‘Some of my opponents have had no idea what it’s like to be poor,’’ the MP who’s electorate includes low socioeconomic suburbs such as Macquarie Fields and Minto said.
‘‘They blame the poor for being poor.
‘‘They have no idea what it’s like to do it tough.’’
Mr McDonald will now be able to concentrate full time on the career he has ‘‘wanted to do since I was in year 8’’ — medicine.