Wayne Swan, the former treasurer who steered Australia through the global financial crisis, will retire at the next federal election.
First elected to parliament in 1993, Mr Swan is signalling his intentions now to give the next Labor candidate the best chance of holding his Brisbane seat of Lilley.
"I think it would be fitting if the party were to select on this occasion, a young woman with the energy and smarts to represent Lilley forcefully and successfully," he said in a statement.
"The inescapable fact is I'm approaching a stage in life where it's simply not possible to be 100 per cent committed as a local MP and meet other important obligations."
Mr Swan will have served in the national parliament for more than 22 years, as treasurer for six, and as deputy prime minister for three.
He listed his work with Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard to avoid recession during the GFC as his proudest achievement in office.
"The social and economic destruction that comes from prolonged and high unemployment and underemployment is what the Labor Party was formed to fight against," he said.
Labor leader Bill Shorten described Mr Swan as someone who lived and breathed Labor values, evident in his legacy.
"When the Global Financial Crisis shook the world economy, every commentator, every armchair expert, every conservative critic said recession was inevitable. Wayne Swan knew better," Mr Shorten said.
Shadow finance minister Jim Chalmers called Mr Swan the battler's champion.
"It's reassuring to know that when he does vacate his parliamentary office he won't be vacating the battleground of ideas, or the struggle against inequality and entrenched social disadvantage," Mr Chalmers said.
Australian Associated Press