QUEENSLAND Senator Ron Boswell will retire from politics in 2014 to make room for "new blood" in the Liberal National Party.
Nominations opened on Friday for the Queensland LNP's 2013 Senate ticket, with Senator Boswell saying, in a statement, he would not renominate.
The 71-year-old will serve out his current term, which concludes in June 2014.
Senator Boswell was first elected to the Senate in 1983 and is currently the longest serving member of the upper house.
He led the Nationals in the Senate for 17 years (1990-2007) and held various frontbench positions in opposition and was a parliamentary secretary in government.
The man known by colleagues as Bozzie said his three decades in the Senate had been an "honour".
"I do not make this decision lightly.
"However, as a person who believes in the potential of the National Party and who has stood for its values and principles for so long I believe I must make room so that new blood can come through the ranks to strengthen and continue to hold up the ideals I have fought for for so long," Senator Boswell said.
"My 30 years in the Senate have been an honour; it is an honour to serve one term in the Senate let alone 30 years.
"I am humbled by the experience and I hope that when I do leave, the people I represent in the great state of Queensland will still remember me as a man who did his job to the utmost and served them as best he could.
"While this is not a resignation, I feel it is important to declare my intentions for the next chapter of my life so that the party can plan for the future."
Tributes flowed from Senator Boswell's Nationals colleagues in the wake of his announcement.
Federal Nationals Leader Warren Truss said Senator Boswell was one of the "best known and loved characters" in the Parliament.
"Ron has been, and remains, a courageous and unwavering champion for Queensland - especially for the regions, their people and their industries," Mr Truss said.
"For almost 30 years he has thrown himself into every issue of importance to regional people, their livelihoods and their unique way of life.
"Ron was always ready to stand up for the fishermen, the pineapple growers, the banana industry, the ginger producers and anyone else who needed a voice. He never grew tired of defending the heartland of Australia. In fact, I think it has been that fight that kept him going."
Barnaby Joyce said regional Queensland would be poorer for Senator Boswell's departure.
"As the Leader of the Nationals in the Senate, and as his fellow Nationals Senator for Queensland, I know that his retirement will leave a gap in the political representation of regional Queensland," Senator Joyce said.
"The voice of regional Queensland in Canberra will be quieter once Ron retires. It will be up to others now to come forward and take up that fight."
He said the upper house would be a "less colourful place" without Senator Boswell's presence.
Meanwhile, North Queensland-based Coalition Senator Ian Macdonald said he was eager to again lead the Liberal National Party ticket and was confident of at least three LNP senators being returned with a possibility of a fourth.
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