Former treasurer Joe Hockey made his valedictory speech in the Federal House of Representatives today. Picture taken during a Reuters' interview at his electorate office in North Sydney. Reuters/Tim Wimborne

Former treasurer Joe Hockey spoke about the highs -- and to some extent the lows -- of his 19-year political career when he delivered his valedictory speech on Wednesday morning in the Federal House of Representatives.

He began by thanking the North Sydney electorate, members of the senate, colleagues, staff, volunteers and his family, before navigating to his time in government and the challenges it posed.

“I’m not so conceited as to believe that I could take a seat in this parliament without the fulsome support from the liberal party,” he said.

“Most people leave this parliament as a result of defeat, death, disillusionment, disgrace. We all have to work harder to leave with dignity.

“There are plenty of Australians who are critical of the politicians that they’ve never met. Our jobs have become much more challenging over the years with the advent of a need-it-now culture.”

Hockey, who was ousted in the liberal leadership spill in September along with former Prime Minister Tony Abbott after falling behind in the polls, went on to criticise the government’s quick succession of prime ministers in the last five years.

“The revolving door in Australian politics must be jammed shut,” he claimed. If we don’t show enough respect to each other, then how can we expect the electorate to respect us?

“We cannot make it normal to have four prime ministers and four treasurers in just four years. Ministerial turnover is the enemy of good public policy.”

The former treasurer, who has seen seven elections, also praised Tony Abbott as one of the most selfless, honourable man he has met:

“The real Tony Abbott is more of a good and decent man than you may know.”

Abbott, who normally sits beside Hockey, was not in parliament today as he is overseas.

Hockey went on to note that he was proud of rolling out initiatives and changes that were right rather than popular, but conceded that while the Abbott government had done well with policies, it struggled with politics.

I believe we got the policies right…but we could have done more to win over third party endorsements and the senate. And we could have done more to win over the Australian people.”

In his speech, he defended the unpopular 2014 budget, calling it an example of when “the government had more courage than the parliament”, and called the the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund his single proudest achievement.

He noted the array of initiatives under his belt, including the Asset Recycling Fund, the Western Sydney Badgery’s Creek airport, and referencing the 2015 Budget, he told his colleagues to never forget small businesses.

Hockey also touched upon Work Choices under the Howard Government, which he said “did go a little too far and the fairness test was too late,” and paid tribute to the Labor government for initiating the National Broadband Network.

No hard feelings

Although Hockey was dropped by the party in the September spill, he said he hoped the Turnbull government would be the best Australia had seen:

“I have always subscribed to the view that no matter what, I want my successors to succeed. I want them to be better than me.

“I genuinely want you, Malcolm, and all of my colleagues to be very successful, to be the best government Australia has ever had because I owe that to my community and I owe that to my children.”

The Prime Minister responded in kind, describing Hockey as a “sunny optimist at heart” and noting that his departure from politics would not be a farewell from public service.

“You, I’m sure, will do great things for Australia in the future,” said Turnbull.

It is widely believed that Hockey will be replace Kim Beazley as the country’s next U.S. ambassador.

With Hockey stepping down, the Turnbull government could face a by-election in North Sydney by Christmas.

Watch Joe Hockey's speech in full below: