Greg Pearce: "The conviction to become a politician also involves sacrifices." Photo: Rob Homer
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Former finance minister Greg Pearce has delivered an emotional speech reflecting on life in politics, sparking suggestions he may be preparing to quit Parliament several months after being sacked from cabinet.
Speaking on a bill in the NSW upper house on Tuesday, Mr Pearce began running through his achievements before turning to the challenges of political service.
"The opportunity to be a Member of Parliament should be cherished because of the opportunity to contribute to the debate on our laws and to development, prosperity and opportunity in our community," Mr Pearce said.
"However, in many cases the conviction to become a politician also involves sacrifices in careers, financially, in health and most important, to family."
Appearing to hold back tears, Mr Pearce said: "Most of us are not prepared to waste that opportunity. And so I remain committed for the time that I am in this place to working towards delivering the principles of our Liberal and National government. And I thank honourable members for listening to me today."
During an unrelated media conference shortly afterwards, Premier Barry O'Farrell refused to comment when asked if Mr Pearce had indicated he would be leaving Parliament, which rises this week until early next year.
The speech prompted several of Mr Pearce's colleagues to privately speculate that he may have delivered his valedictory address.
Mr Pearce has refused to comment.
Mr O'Farrell announced in August he had sacked Mr Pearce for failing to disclose a perceived conflict of interest over the appointment of a lawyer and friend, Richard Fisher, to the Sydney Water board.
Mr Pearce's wife, Shauna Jarrett, reported to Mr Fisher at the University of Sydney, where he is the general counsel. Mr O'Farrell said this was not disclosed to cabinet in what he described as a "clear breach" of the ministerial code of conduct.
The decision followed weeks of pressure for Mr O'Farrell to sack Mr Pearce over accusations he was drunk in Parliament and wrongly claimed travel entitlements for a private trip to Canberra.