NSW Sports Minister Graham Annesley has quit politics to take a job as chief executive of the Gold Coast Titans rugby league franchise.
Mr Annesley, perhaps best known to Illawarra voters as the minister responsible for repairing WIN Stadium’s western grandstand roof, made a tearful speech to Parliament this afternoon.
He is the second minister to leave the O’Farrell cabinet, with Greg Pearce sacked from the Illawarra portfolio earlier this month.
Mr Annesley said politics was a sometimes brutal business but he believed he had been a good minister.
‘‘Throughout my time in Parliament and as a minister I never really considered myself to be a politician,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m only too happy to admit that I don’t see myself as a very good politician. In fact, there are many aspects of politics that I don’t care for. I have the utmost respect for everyone who enters political life.’’
He said committing to another term in Parliament would mean it would be too late to return to a career in rugby league.
He drew tributes from his own party and the opposition alike.
A rugby league referee and chief operating officer of the NRL before entering Parliament, Mr Annesley gained an early profile by raising the issue of sports gambling in his inaugural speech.
He voiced his concern at the ‘‘enormous growth of gambling on sporting events and specifically the relatively recent advent of more exotic bet types, previously unavailable’’.
This type of betting was ‘‘potentially the most significant threat to the integrity of sport we have ever confronted’’.
Last year Mr Annesley oversaw the introduction of laws which impose up to 10 years’ jail for match fixing, race fixing and other forms of corruption in sport.
Mr Annesley was appointed to cabinet shortly after being elected as the member for Miranda at the 2011 election.
His resignation will spark a by-election in the seat of Miranda.