West Australian Premier Geoff Gallop resigns

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Monday, January 16, 2006

Western Australian Premier, Dr Geoff Gallop, has resigned his post, to treat depression. Dr Gallop says the "debilitating" illness forced him to seek expert help last week. The 54-year-old became State Premier in 2001 and was re-elected in February last year.

In a media statement today, he said:

"It is my difficult duty to inform you today that I am currently being treated for depression. Living with depression is a very debilitating experience, which affects different people in different ways. It has certainly affected many aspects of my life. So much so, that I sought expert help last week. My doctors advised me that with treatment, time and rest this illness is very curable. However, I cannot be certain how long I will need. So in the interests of my health and my family I have decided to rethink my career."

Dr Gallop says he will not do any further media interviews in the near future. The WA parliamentary Labor Party will decide on his successor. State Treasurer and Acting Premier, Eric Ripper, has cancelled his scheduled leave to act as Premier in the interim.

Dr Gallop was first elected to Parliament as the Member for Victoria Park in 1986. In today's statement he said: "In fact, what has made this announcement all the more difficult today is that I love being premier, I love the work, I love the state and I love its people.

Australian Federal Opposition Leader, Kim Beazley says Dr Gallop is a brilliant and innovative leader, who leaves Western Australia a far better place than he found it. He says Dr Gallop will be remembered for his decisions relating to WA's environment and education system, along with his vigorous pursuit of minerals development.

Federal deputy Labor leader Jenny Macklin says Dr Gallop's departure is devastating. "For me, he's always been the most brilliant man, an extraordinary politician, a very lively and entertaining character," she said. "I think he's made an enormous contribution both to Western Australia but also to broader Australian politics."

Prime Minister John Howard says all Australians will wish Dr Gallop and his family well for the future. "He worked very hard for the people of Western Australia as Premier," Mr Howard said in a statement. "Despite our political differences I always found it possible to work constructively with him."

The president of the WA branch of the Australian Medical Association, Dr Paul Skerrit, says he was shocked to hear of Dr Gallop's resignation. He says it shows depression can strike people in all kinds of jobs.

"Depression is a thing that smites people when they're in their prime and doing very well," he said. "People think that you've got to have something wrong with you to get this illness but it's not the case at all."

Sources

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