As far as turnover goes, it’s hardly a glowing endorsement of the job.
Seven Liberal MPs and three from the opposition have bowed out of Tasmania’s parliament since 2014 — no mean feat when the Lower House has 25 members and the Upper House just 15.
Education minister Sarah Courtney is the latest to quit, announcing today her plan to immediately give up her portfolios and her seat.
Her resignation came after a bizarrely timed trip to Europe that ended with her catching coronavirus and becoming stranded in France.
Bizarre, because while it was indeed term break, department staff and teachers were busy planning a return to school in the shadow of coronavirus.
But Ms Courtney said her decision was not forced by criticism from Labor and the Greens and was instead “the culmination and confluence of a range of different factors”, including the recent death of her grandmother.
“Politics doesn’t always allow you to do that, and politics also forces you at times to make significant sacrifices around spending time with the people that you do love, and I want to be able to refocus and re-prioritise on the things that are important to me.
“I believe that being true to myself and being true to my values is fundamental.
Ms Courtney was elected to parliament in 2014 and appointed to Cabinet in 2018.
She was the first female primary industries minister but lost the role after starting a relationship with her department secretary, John Whittington.
The pair are now married but faced intense scrutiny after their relationship went public, including an independent review in which both were cleared of wrongdoing.
She was appointed health minister mid-2019 — viewed as a punishment of sorts — but adopted the challenging role with some enthusiasm and was clearly disappointed when she was replaced by Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff after the May state election.
Ms Courtney’s widely-criticised European holiday clearly gave her time to reflect — and it was against this backdrop that the woman tipped as a potential future premier resigned.
She is not the first MP to leave the state parliament citing issues with work-life balance and media scrutiny.
Former energy minister Matthew Groom resigned from Cabinet in 2017 and did not contest his seat at the 2018 state election, telling assembled press “you don’t get a second go at raising a family”.
When former premier Will Hodgman quit in 2020 he pointed to the “undeniable impact” political life had had on his family.
Politicians have a stupendously important job. Their decisions affect the lives of every Tasmanian — most people would expect them to work hard and face scrutiny.
That is not to deny the impact such pressure would have on an individual.
Tasmanian cabinet ministers juggle a circus of portfolios; at the time of her resignation, Ms Courtney was minister for education, tourism and hospitality, skills training and workforce growth, disability services, and children and youth.
It should not be forgotten that Premier Peter Gutwein literally collapsed last year from exhaustion.
But many people work hard in many sectors, and politicians can hardly claim ignorance on the challenges of the role.
They are also well remunerated, with ministers earning about $240,000 a year.
Ms Courtney’s facial expressions were telling when she was asked whether she would encourage others to get into politics — she looked at the ceiling and smiled.
“Yes, I would,” she said after a pause.