The Liberal senator JIm Molan has announced he has an “aggressive form of cancer” and will be taking leave from parliament immediately to begin treatment.
In a message to colleagues and on his public Facebook page on Monday, Molan asked for privacy as he undertook further testing to confirm the prognosis and to commence treatment.
“Whilst this news has come as a shock, I have many reasons to be positive,” Molan said.
“I am receiving the best possible care from my clinicians, and have the love, support and prayers of my family.
“I have never been afraid to fight the battles that need fighting, and this is no exception.”
Molan said that although he would be “stepping back for a while”, his office would remain open and fully operational.
“My team will continue to work hard alongside my colleagues in the Morrison government on the issues that matter. My commitment to serving you, the people of NSW and Australia, has not wavered.”
Molan, a key architect of Australia’s hardline refugee policy before entering parliament, was first elected to the Senate in 2017 after Nationals senator Fiona Nash was disqualified under Section 44 of the constitution for being a dual national.
In 2019, he was relegated to the unwinnable fourth position before the election but mounted a controversial “below the line” campaign in an attempt to leapfrog the Nationals Senate candidate Perin Davey.
Molan was backed by powerful conservatives in his bid to re-enter parliament, with his campaign boosted by sections of the media including Peta Credlin on Sky News, and Alan Jones.
Molan was retuned to the Senate to fill a casual vacancy left by Arthur Sinodinos in late 2019.
He was due for re-election again in 2022 when he was expected to vie for a place on the Senate ticket alongside the foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, a moderate, and the conservative Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.