One of the country’s strongest Union proponents has left the political arena.

Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation, Greg Combet will retire after he voted against the removal of Julia Gillard as Prime Minister, saying his decision had nothing to do with the leadership spill.

In a statement released over the weekend, Mr Combet said he had decided not to re-contest the NSW seat of Charlton after a long period of consideration and discussions with family, friends, colleagues and local Labor supporters.

Mr Combet received his share of criticism during his time as Minister; he was a prime figure in the Labor Government’s controversial Carbon Tax.

Combet also served as secretary to the Australian Council of Trades Unions, the country’s main body representing worker’s right in certain industries. He had been seen as a possible contender for party leadership in the future, Mr Combet says he will now spend time with his family before embarking on a new professional direction.