Retiring Minister Steve Ciobo Wants Female Replacement

Liberal frontbencher Steve Ciobo wants a woman to replace him in federal parliament when he quits politics at the May election.

After 17 years representing the Gold Coast seat of Moncrieff the Defence Industry Minister says it's time to do something else.

Mr Ciobo told Sky News he left his announcement late in part to ensure an independent candidate wouldn't have time to challenge his Liberal replacement.

"I would love for it to be a women, I think there are some terrific women around who are interested in running for the seat," Ciobo said in an interview aired on Saturday morning.

Ciobo ran for deputy leader after the August spill, in which he played a key role in unseating former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, but he said he had been thinking about quitting before then.

Steve Ciobo
Steve Ciobo wants a woman to take his place in parliament. Image: AAP.

"I didn't want to die not knowing, so I put my hand up," he said.

But he doesn't regret pushing for the spill, which saw the coalition government tumble in the polls.

"If I have a regret it's that it's become a focal point for a lot of people," Ciobo said.

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As trade minister for several years Mr Ciobo says he was on the road for 47 weeks a year -- which was a highlight, but also a problem.

"Federal politics is anti family, full stop. Don't let anyone ever pretend otherwise," he said.

Steve Ciobo, Chris Pyne
Chrstopher Pyne and Steve Ciobo talk in parliament in 2018. Image: AAP.

"It just requires, ultimately, for your partner to be someone who can withstand that.

"You see often family breakdown that happens in federal politics. There would be a lot of other professions in which it would be the same."

Mr Ciobo tipped Scott Morrison to win the May election, comparing his situation to John Howard in 2001 when the coalition came from behind to win.

The 44-year-old said he wanted to work in business, having made strong connections in Asia and North and South America during his trade role.