Kate Ellis was just 26 when she was elected to federal parliament and was not afraid at the time to admit to being both young and idealistic.
Almost 15 years later, the 41-year-old says her idealism has survived, despite the many leadership changes, instability, division and chaos she's witnessed in the nation's capital.
"I guess you could say that my idealism has been challenged at times," she told parliament on Monday.
The member for Adelaide announced last year this term would be her last, as she sought to spend more time with family.
But in a valedictory address, Ms Ellis said she has been mortified by suggestions her resignation was due to the inability for women to both maintain a career in politics and a family life.
"That is simply not true," she said.
"There is no job more rewarding, more interesting and stimulating than serving our community as a member of parliament.
"I would urge any woman with an interest to do it because you will never regret it, just as I do not regret a single day that I've spent here."
Ms Ellis said her departure actually was buoyed by the knowledge Labor has been successful in getting talented women elected.
This knowledge has also eased pressure the South Australian has felt to be successful as a young woman, and at one point the nation's youngest minister, breaking Paul Keating's record.
"One day I looked around me and I saw this great and inspiring army of passionate, talented, hard-working women that we have in our caucus, and I knew that I could go," Ms Ellis said.
"There is no shortage of remarkable Labor women who will fly the flag, achieve amazing things, and prove to all that a woman's place is in the parliament."
Ms Ellis said there was always more work to do as a parliamentarian and she felt like her efforts to improve access to early childhood education were unfinished.
"We must recognise the power of the first 1000 days to determine a child's future."
But she's excited to spend more time with her two sons, Sam and Charlie, despite issuing the boys an assurance she's not leaving a job she loves for them.
"I'm leaving a job that I love, for me."
Australian Associated Press