Campbell Kevin Thomas Newman (born 12 August 1963) is an Australian politician and the 38th and current Premier of Queensland since 26 March 2012. He has been the leader of the Liberal National Party of Queensland (LNP) since April 2011, and was the 15th Lord Mayor of Brisbane from 2004 to 2011.
Newman was elected Lord Mayor as a member of the Liberal Party of Australia. Since the July 2008 merger of the Queensland Liberals and National Party of Australia (Nationals), Newman has been a member of the LNP.
In March 2011, Newman announced that he would challenge Leader of the Opposition John-Paul Langbroek for the leadership of the LNP. Langbroek resigned, and Newman was elected his successor. As Newman was not a member of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland, former state Nationals' leader Jeff Seeney was elected interim opposition leader while Newman headed the party's election team from outside the legislature.
Newman led the LNP to a landslide victory in the 2012 state election, allowing it to form government for the first time in its history. At the same time, he won election to the seat of Ashgrove in western Brisbane. He was sworn in as premier two days later.
Early life and military career
Campbell Newman was born on 12 August 1963 in Canberra, to parents who later both represented Tasmania in the federal parliament and were both ministers in Liberal-National coalition governments. His father, Kevin, represented the federal seat of Bass from 1975 to 1984, and was a minister in the Fraser government. His mother, Jocelyn, was a Senator for Tasmania (1986–2002) and a minister in the Howard government. Campbell Newman was raised in Tasmania, attending Launceston Church Grammar School, then returned to Canberra.
He joined the Australian Army as a Staff Cadet at the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1981, graduating as a Lieutenant in 1985. He spent thirteen years in the army, resigning with the rank of Major in 1993. At Duntroon he was nicknamed "Noddy", in reference both to his appearance and to his misadventures during his time in the Army. He has an honours degree in civil engineering from the University of New South Wales.
He moved to Queensland, where he graduated with an MBA from the University of Queensland, then worked for the agricultural storage company Grainco, before deciding to stand for election as Lord Mayor of Brisbane.
Lord Mayor of Brisbane
Due to the laws governing the election of Brisbane's Lord Mayor and City Councillors, Newman was elected directly to replace Tim Quinn. However, in the 2004 election, a majority of wards returned ALP Councillors, meaning Newman had to work with a Civic Cabinet dominated by his Opposition, and a Labor Deputy Mayor. During the 2005 Brisbane bomb hoax, several bomb threats were called in from payphones in Brisbane, Australia, threatening the public transport system. Lord Mayor Campbell Newman ordered all buses and trains to be shut down at midday, and again at 4:45 pm, causing huge problems, with thousands of people waiting. After a thorough bomb search, the public transport restarted operation. In the 2008 election, the ALP lost at least 6 wards to the Liberal Party, giving the Liberals a majority.
Newman was selected as one of 25 mayors from across the world shortlisted for the 2010 World Mayor Prize, an online competition aimed at raising the profile of civic leaders. When the results were announced, Newman was declared the 5th best mayor in the world.
Run for State Parliament
On 18 March 2011, Nine News Queensland's Spencer Jolly reported that the LNP's organisational wing was engineering a plan to make Newman the leader of the LNP. According to Jolly, party president Bruce McIver was trying to arrange for Bruce Flegg, the former leader of the Queensland Liberals and the MP for Moggill, the only safe LNP seat in Brisbane at the time, to resign and hand his seat to Newman. Newman would have then challenged Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek—who, like Newman, is from the Liberal side of the LNP merger—for the leadership of the LNP. Newman subsequently acknowledged he had been approached about moving up to state politics. Although he did not rule out running in the next state election he stated that, for the time being, he was committed to serving out his term as Lord Mayor and running for reelection in 2012.
However, on 22 March, Newman announced that he was seeking the LNP preselection for the state electoral district of Ashgrove, held by Labor's Kate Jones, in the election due for 2012. If he won preselection, Newman said, he would then make a bid for the LNP leadership. According to ABC News, the LNP's organisational wing engineered Newman's bid for leadership when polls showed he was the only non-Labor politician who matched Premier Anna Bligh's popularity during the 2010–2011 Queensland floods.
Jones held Ashgrove with a majority of 7.1 percent, making it a "fairly safe" Labor seat, on paper. However, according to Australian Broadcasting Corporation elections analyst Antony Green, Newman carried The Gap ward, which contains the bulk of Ashgrove (Brisbane City Council wards are almost as large as state electorates), with 56 percent of the two-party vote in 2004 and almost 70 percent in 2008. According to Green, if Newman repeated his past performance in The Gap, he would be able to take Ashgrove off Labor.
Within hours of Newman's announcement, Langbroek and deputy leader Lawrence Springborg both resigned their posts. Langbroek had been under growing pressure from the LNP's organisational wing to stand down after Labor's polling numbers rebounded in the wake of the floods. However, as late as a day before Newman's announcement, Langbroek insisted he would not do so. On 2 April 2011, Newman was elected as the leader of the LNP. His first act was to announce a new slogan for the LNP, "Can Do Queensland" (stylised as "CanDoQld")--based on his slogan during his campaigns for Lord Mayor, "Can Do Campbell." The next day he won the LNP preselection for Ashgrove, unopposed.
Since Newman was not in parliament, standard practice called for an LNP MP from a safe seat to resign so that Newman could enter parliament via a by-election. However, a by-election could not be arranged. To solve this problem, former state Nationals leader Jeff Seeney, who had been elected deputy leader of the LNP, was named as the party's interim parliamentary leader—and hence Leader of the Opposition—while Newman led the LNP election team from outside the legislature. Seeney agreed to cede the post of parliamentary leader to Newman should Newman win election to the legislature. Newman's ascent to the role of leader outside of Parliament led Bligh to briefly consider breaking her previous vow to let the legislature run full-term. She had promised to focus exclusively on recovery in 2011, but was concerned that the LNP's leadership situation could make the cooperation necessary for the recovery effort impossible. Bligh also accused Newman of "abandoning" the Lord Mayor's post, saying that Newman should not have "cut and run" while the recovery effort was still underway.
The first Newspoll taken after Newman assumed the leadership showed that the LNP had regained the lead in opinion polling; it had led most polls from July until the floods. Newman has also consistently led Bligh as preferred premier.
Soon after Newman became leader of the LNP, Labor state Treasurer Andrew Fraser used parliamentary privilege to claim he had received information from within the LNP that Flegg had been given an inducement to resign and allow Newman to run for his seat in a by-election. On 18 July 2011, the Crime and Misconduct Commission announced that the investigation found no evidence to support Fraser's allegations and all parties were cleared. Billionaire and LNP benefactor Clive Palmer said the "CMC [was] colluding with the government" while the LNP accused Fraser of "knowing too much about the investigation".
Newman made it clear that when he took over the LNP leadership, all policies previously announced would be scrapped and essentially become "null and void" with new policy announcements to be made. In an attempt to win voter support in regional Queensland, Newman's first official LNP policy announcement was that he would not support daylight saving in Queensland or South East Queensland, even though as Brisbane's Lord Mayor he had been a vocal advocate for daylight saving.
Newman has stated his support for same-sex marriage. However, the LNP have stated that if they win government they may move to repeal such laws.
On 25 January 2012, Bligh announced that a state election would be held in Queensland on 24 March, but that she would not formally ask the Governor to dissolve parliament until 19 February. For Newman to unseat Bligh as premier, he needed not only to win Ashgrove but also lead the LNP to at least an 11-seat gain.
On 15 March 2012, the Premier Anna Bligh referred to the Crime and Misconduct Commission material concerning an office in a building owned by interests associated with Newman's family. Despite allegations of inappropriate dealings for personal benefit, a week before the election the CMC finalised its assessment that there was no evidence of official misconduct by Newman while he was Lord Mayor of Brisbane. Consequently, no further investigation was warranted nor would be conducted by the CMC concerning Newman.
In the election, Newman led the LNP to a comprehensive victory. The LNP won 78 seats against only seven for Labor, taking 44 seats on a swing of 14.5 percent. That was largely because Brisbane, Labor's power base for over 20 years, swung over dramatically to support Newman. The LNP won an unheard-of 37 seats in Brisbane, in many cases on swings of 10 percent or more. By comparison, it had gone into the election holding only six of the capital's 40 seats; Labor had held power mostly on the strength of winning at least 30 seats there in every election since 1989. It was easily the worst defeat a sitting government has ever suffered in Queensland, and one of the most lopsided election results ever recorded at the state level in Australia. Newman himself won a convincing victory in Ashgrove, taking 51 percent of the primary vote and 54 percent of the two-party vote on a swing of 13.8 percent—almost double the swing he needed.
Newman formally claimed victory at 8:45 pm Queensland time, saying he'd received a mandate to make Queensland "a can-do place once more."
Normal practice in Australia calls for a defeated government to stay in office on a caretaker basis until the final results are in. However, the day after the election, with the LNP's victory beyond doubt even though counting was still underway in several seats, Bligh announced she was resigning as premier and retiring from politics. An hour later, Newman announced that he intended to advise Governor Penny Wensley that he was able to form a government. He also announced that he intended to have himself and his top two shadow ministers, Seeney and Tim Nicholls, sworn in as an interim three-man government until a full ministry could be named, with Seeney as deputy premier and Nicholls as treasurer.
Newman was formally sworn in as Queensland's 38th premier on 26 March. His interim government remained in office until the full ministry was sworn in a week later. Upon swearing-in, he became the first non-Labor premier from the Brisbane area since Digby Denham left office in 1915. He is also the first person since Federation to lead a party to victory while not himself serving in the legislature at the time of the election.
Newman entered office with the largest majority government in Queensland history. He has announced that he will focus on rebuilding Queensland's economy and setting its finances in order. He also asked his large party room to put together plans to "deliver their promises" in their own seats.
On 29 March, Newman announced his support for newly elected Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk's proposal to extend the parliamentary term in Queensland to four years, as is the case in the other states.
In January 2013, Newman announced plans to push for Queensland to allow Optional Preferential Voting in federal elections.
In October 2013 the Newman government passed new legislation which handed discretionary powers to the state Attorney-General to indefinitely extend the detention of sex offenders The legislation was criticised by the Law Society of Queensland, the Bar Association of Queensland, the Australian Council for Civil Liberties and retired judges. Newman responded by describing opponents of the law as "apologists for sex offenders and pedophiles".
In addition to targeting sex offenders, other legislation aims to imprison members and associates of "outlaw motorcycle clubs", naming 26 clubs. The bill has attracted a large amount of criticism from law professionals to Amnesty International. In particular, the bill has been criticised for sweeping so broadly that innocent conduct may be caught and infringing the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Despite this, Campbell Newman has claimed that Queenslanders want the tough new laws
By September 2013 Campbell Newman's government has cut 12,282 public service jobs in Queensland.
On the 7th of April 2014, the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption heard that Premier Campbell Newman wanted $5000 to meet controversial Sydney businessman Nick Di Girolamo when he was the Lord Mayor of Brisbane.
Personal life and family
Newman lives in Brisbane with his wife Lisa (who is of mixed Lebanese paternal and Irish maternal heritage) and their two daughters, Rebecca and Sarah.
Newman was raised an Anglican and is "not a regular churchgoer", but the family says grace over meals every night. His wife and two daughters are baptised Catholics.