Relaxed Grylls leaves door open

Daniel EmersonThe West Australian
Brendon Grylls.
Camera IconBrendon Grylls. Credit: Peter de Kruijff/North West Telegraph

Feeling relaxed, healthy and rejuvenated after a quiet summer with his young family, Brendon Grylls believes his decision to leave Cabinet and the helm of the Nationals may prolong his career.

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Just three months after his shock announcement, Mr Grylls has left the door ajar to a return to the frontbench, with comments sure to boost Colin Barnett's hopes the self-demotion was only for a "gap year".

Speaking from Karratha, where he has moved with wife Susan and their three sons, Mr Grylls said his first summer as a backbencher in a decade had done wonders.

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"Everyone tells me I look much better," he said. "They tell me I've lost weight, they tell me I look like a new person and all those things are nice.

"This decision probably means that I may have a little bit more longevity than I may have had.

"If I had kept on pushing, I would have got more to the stage where I wanted a change whereas now this is a change.

"I've got a change in lifestyle up in the Pilbara, which is good."

Asked whether he was referring to longevity as the member for Pilbara or as a Cabinet minister as well, Mr Grylls said he meant "prolonging my career in public life. I'll leave you to speculate".

After November's emotional explanation of his decision to stand down - being exhausted a decade after taking on the Nationals' leadership as a 32-year-old - many questioned whether Mr Grylls would even see out the parliamentary term.

But so unencumbered by responsibility has he become, he skipped the WA Nationals' annual retreat in Denmark this month because it was the day before school started for the year.

On Thursday night, he was at his first parent-teacher evening. "I've learnt how to be a dad again, that was important," Mr Grylls said.

His contribution to the Government has not completely ceased, however.

On Tuesday, he represented Mr Barnett at the Australia China Business Council's Chinese New Year dinner at Crown Perth.

"Being a former minister, I still get a lot of calls. I'm happy to be the elder statesman.

"People in the National Party occasionally ring me and ask for advice and keep away from me a bit when they don't want my advice," he joked.

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