There was widespread shock when Mr Xenophon announced his intention to shift his focus to politics in his home state of South Australia, and will leave Federal Parliament once the High Court decision on the politician’s dual-citizenship fiasco – of which he is a part – is handed down, regardless of the outcome.
He said he was tired of seeing both the state Labor and Liberal parties vie to “see who can dig their snouts deeper in the trough”, a contest he declared he was “sick of”.
“Both sides disappoint me to the brink of despair,” he said, adding that he will lead the new SA Best party.
James Pearson, chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), said the business community would miss Mr Xenophon’s “brand of politics”.
“Senator Xenophon came to Canberra to do things differently, and that is most certainly what he did,” Mr Pearson said.
“Nick has taken a careful approach to reviewing policy and legislation. He has been willing to listen to how legislation will affect Australia’s business environment and its international competitiveness.
“[His] ability to consider competing arguments and be part of compromise outcomes has been a feature of his service in the Senate. Nick and his team have engaged on issues that matter to Australian business and as a senator for South Australia, Nick has championed his vision for his state.
Mr Pearson added: “While Nick’s unique contribution will be missed, we look forward to continuing to work with his team in Canberra and his replacement in the Senate.”