Sharman Stone has been a tireless, enthusiastic representative of her people of northern Victoria through 20 years - the good times and the tough times of fire, flood and drought.

She is among the fifth generation of her family to be born in the electorate of Murray.

And this great family heritage always showed in the way she went about her work.

Sharman has been a stalwart defender of local industry - most recently in the crucial role she played in keeping alive the hopes of the workers and suppliers of the SPC Ardmona factory in Shepparton.

Sharman understands the rich diversity of the community she represents. As a scholar and author, and as a parliamentarian and minister, she has been a passionate and intelligent advocate for the interests of Indigenous Australians.

Murray is an irrigation electorate and Sharman’s persuasively argued and well informed views on water management have been very influential in the formation of water policy, as I know from first-hand experience when I was Minister for Environment and Water Resources in 2007.

Sharman has drawn on her experience as a farmer and a scholar - including a PhD in economics at Monash University - to perform across a wide range of portfolios both in Opposition and in Government.

During the Howard Government, Sharman was Parliamentary Secretary to the Environment Minister in 1998 and in 2004 became Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and in 2006 was appointed Minister for Workforce Participation.

In opposition she was shadow minister for Environment under Brendan Nelson’s leadership and Shadow Minister for Immigration under mine. In all those roles she showed her keen intellect, strong social conscience and indomitable energy.

In Canberra she also made her mark as a persuasive advocate for women in positions of leadership.

Sharman's interests and influence extend far from her Murray electorate, including representing the Federal Parliament at the United Nations General Assembly, where she played a role in framing the new Sustainable Development Goals.

But her first passion has always been reserved for the communities of the magnificent country which stretches from the Mallee across the great northern plains and into the Goulburn and Murray River valleys.

And I know that this won't change as she spends more time with her family in Shepparton and writes the next chapter of her professional life.

On behalf of the Government and the Liberal Party I thank Sharman for her service to her community, her Party and her nation.