Former Queensland premier Campbell Newman quits the LNP, citing a failure of the political wing to stand up for the party’s core values and accusing the Coalition of abandoning party principles across the country.

Former premier Campbell Newman has resigned from Queensland’s Liberal National Party, saying he was dismayed the political wing “failed” to stand up for the party’s core values.
Key points:

  • Campbell Newman resigned citing a failure by leadership to “support the fierce independence of spirit” that built Australia
  • He said the response to the COVID-19 pandemic was “the last straw”
  • Mr Newman hinted at plans to return to politics at a federal level

In a statement released on Monday, Mr Newman said the governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic was “the last straw” and accused the Coalition of abandoning its principles in federal and state politics across Australia.
“I have in recent months become dismayed that the political wing has failed to stand up for our core values of fiscal responsibility, smaller government, support for small business, the elimination of red tape and the defence of free speech and liberty,” Mr Newman said.
“The last straw for me has been the destruction of people’s livelihoods, jobs and freedoms under governments’ heavy-handed response to COVID-19 across the nation.
“It is important to keep Australians safe, but it is equally important to keep us free. The two concepts do not need to be mutually exclusive.
“Our federal and state governments have failed to honour the spirit of individual freedom that is at the heart of not only Liberal Party values, but wider Australian values.”
Mr Newman said he decided to resign some weeks ago but held off because he did not want any embarrassment for Cynthia Hardy or for it to be used against her.
‘Leadership that never stands up for anything’
His resignation comes after Mr Newman criticised the party’s performance in the Stretton by-election at the weekend, saying the LNP candidate was “let down by a party and leadership that never stands up for anything”.
Mr Newman, who became one of the LNP’s trustees in late April, made the comments on Twitter on Saturday just hours after LNP leader David Crisafulli called for unity at the party’s state convention.
“Australia’s current leadership specifically that of the Liberal Party is failing to promote and support the fierce independence of spirit that built this great nation,” he said.
Mr Newman hinted at plans to return to politics at a federal level, saying he intended to “continue to contribute to Australia’s political discourse in the future”.
He said he was yet to decide whether to run in a party or as an independent but said if he did run, it would be in the senate.
Former premier Campbell Newman and his wife Lisa have both resigned from the LNP.(AAP: Dan Peled
The former Brisbane lord mayor thanked all party members for their hard work, support and encouragement over the past 20 years.
Mr Newman’s wife, Lisa, also resigned from the party on Sunday.
“Frankly, I feel that our political representatives don’t reflect the values of the party that I joined almost 20 years ago and are not serving us well,” Ms Newman wrote.
“Cam and I have been privileged to receive terrific support from the men and women of the party over the years and I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart.
“It is very difficult to say goodbye.”
Deputy PM slams Newman’s decision
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce told ABC Radio National “I respect Campbell but, to be quite frank, I don’t respect this”.
“Maybe it’s a statement of valour and bravery to say, ‘well, I’m out’,” Mr Joyce said, who attended the weekend’s LNP state conference.
“But I would have really respected it if, while the LNP conference was on, he came along to his members and colleagues and presented himself at that venue and said, ‘okay, I’m going to be up front with you and explain why I have an issue and why my next actions are going to be as they are’.
“Why would you do that to the people who formerly supported you?
“I can understand people’s political views change but your first move you make in your new political career is a reflection of the type of politics that you will follow and the first move is one of, ‘I’m going to kick you’.”
In a statement, Tony Eyres, state director of the LNP, said the party wished Mr Newman all the best in his new direction.
“On the weekend the grassroots members and the parliamentary team of the LNP made a clear decision to chart a new path of unity, laying a strong platform for the party’s future and in turn the future of Queensland,” he said.
“The LNP thanks Mr and Mrs Newman for their service.”
His departure came as Labor comfortably retained the seat of Stretton after Saturday’s by-election, triggered by the death of Labor MP Duncan Pegg.
With more than 70 per cent of the votes counted, Labor’s James Martin secured 56.58 per cent of first preference votes, followed by the LNP’s Jim Bellos, who had 32.71 per cent.
LNP leader brushes off criticism 
The LNP has been plagued by years of infighting and internal tensions, but in his speech at the weekend Mr Crisafulli declared it was the “start of a new tomorrow” for the party, “strong and united, like never before”.
Asked if the former premier’s comments undermined those efforts, Mr Crisafulli told the ABC he was not immune to criticism.
LNP leader David Crisafulli has called for party unity in the wake of its defeat in the Stretton by-election.(ABC News: Lucas Hill
“Along the way people will say I should do things differently and I’m not immune to that, but I’m humbled by what’s occurring and the generational change is refreshing,” he said.
“I’m determined to lead a reformed LNP.”
Queensland’s Deputy Premier Steven Miles took a swipe at the LNP over the result, saying he “found himself in the uncomfortable position of agreeing with Campbell Newman”.
“This was an awful result for the LNP,” he said.
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But Mr Crisafulli brushed off the criticism, saying he was pleased with the party’s efforts, adding “we had a crack”.
“We went into Stretton knowing it was a tough, very tough part of the world for us, politically,” he said.
“The fact we have had a swing towards us in a by-election less than 12 months after an election, in a pandemic, [with] a by-election caused by a member passing away, we’re quite pleased more people have voted for us less than a year ago.
“But we’re not getting ahead of ourselves.”
He also said recent reforms to the organisational wing have put the party in a better position.