The Courier-Mail

HIGH COST OF HUBRIS AND CAN-DO FACTOR

Borbidge and Sheldon pull no punches on who was responsibl­e for defeat

- STEVEN WARDILL

CAMPBELL Newman has been singled out as the key catalyst of the LNP’s dramatic fall from grace, in a scathing post-election analysis by respected party elders.

Rob Borbidge and Joan Sheldon’s review found Mr Newman’s administra­tion acted with “hubris” and alienated almost every key interest group across the state before the election in January.

The duo criticised lack- lustre campaign advertisin­g and the absence of a target seats strategy while questionin­g the party’s failure to counter perception­s Mr Newman was arrogant but the LNP would win anyway.

While acknowledg­ing his achievemen­ts in office, the “warts and all” review also questioned Mr Newman’s recruitmen­t from council to the state’s top job, finding it came with “risks” which were not immediatel­y apparent.

“The huge influx of inex- perienced new MPs and a leader without parliament­ary background contribute­d to a lack of corporate history in the conduct of parliament and the party room,” the report said.

The timing of the poll, called during the summer holidays, was also criticised.

CAMPBELL Newman has been singled out as the key catalyst of the LNP’s dramatic fall from grace, in a scathing post-election analysis by respected party elders.

Former leaders Rob Borbidge and Joan Sheldon’s review found that Mr Newman’s administra­tion acted with “hubris” and alienated so many people during the term that it was near friendless by the end.

The duo criticised lacklustre campaign advertisin­g and the absence of a target seats strategy, while questionin­g the party’s failure to counter the predominan­t percep- tion that Mr Newman was arrogant but the LNP would win anyway.

“The government’s haste to implement the reform agenda and the ‘can do’ approach left little room for other views or listening to supporters, voters and even the grassroots of the party,’’ the 14-page report says.

“External new ideas or friendly criticism was unwelcome.

“The former government in its reforming zeal and decision-making processes alienated almost every key interest group across the state.

“The good policy work done for many stakeholde­rs was lost by the lack of listening or a dismissive, arrogant approach which ultimately resonated at the poll.”

The review’s 39 recommenda­tions, which include ending big-dollar donations and MPs’ involvemen­t in fundraisin­g, along with greater use of social media, will now be considered by the LNP state executive along with a special “sealed section” based on first-hand feedback by MPs and party members.

Mr Newman yesterday declined to comment.

However, a source close to the former premier described the report as stupid.

“The Labor Party would not do something as politicall­y stupid as this,” the source said. Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg described the review as a “brutally honest” assessment which the LNP must learn from.

“Certainly this has been a warts-and-all evaluation of the government and also the election campaign,’’ he said. “And I think it is blatantly and brutally and frankly honest in the recommenda­tions and the conduct of the government.”

LNP president Bruce McIver indicated he would renominate for his position, despite the report questionin­g the decision to recruit Mr Newman from Brisbane City Council, which he played a role in.

“The inherent mess that they inherited had to be handled and we needed someone like Campbell to lead that team at that time,’’ Mr McIver said.

While acknowledg­ing Mr Newman’s achievemen­ts in office, the report found that importing a leader came with “inherent risks” which were not immediatel­y apparent.

“The huge influx of inexperien­ced new MPs and a leader without parliament­ary background contribute­d to a lack of corporate history in the conduct of parliament and the party room,’’ it says.

The review says the former government’s hubris had even alienated its own organisati­onal wing.

It warns that critical decisions and approaches to problems early in its term, including sacking public ser- vants, remained significan­t issues at the election.

“There were errors in policy and political judgment such as the members of parliament pay increase, changes to parliament­ary committees and MPs’ resignatio­ns,’’ the review says.

“In addition there were other distractio­ns that unsettled voters.

“These served to fuel the impression of arrogance – a perception which had been around the government from its earliest days.”

According to the report, the Newman government’s asset sales agenda only emerged as a problem during the election campaign.

“External polling during the election indicated that the privatisat­ion of major assets was not a strong negative with any groups other than those strongly committed to voting Labor, and non-Greens minor party voters,’’ it says.

“Exit polling, however, indicated that the plan to sell/lease the state’s assets was the main reason given by 64 per cent of respondent­s for their protest vote.”

The review even criticises Mr Newman’s decision to call the election earlier than expected during the school holidays. “The early election reenforced the perception that the government was arrogant,” it says.

Along with condemning the decision to discard a local approach for a “presidenti­alstyle campaign”, the review questions the logic of failing to combat Mr Newman’s unpopulari­ty.

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 ??  ?? KEY FIGURES: Campbell Newman (above); Lawrence Springborg and Bruce McIver (left). Edited extracts
from BorbidgeSh­eldon LNP
review
KEY FIGURES: Campbell Newman (above); Lawrence Springborg and Bruce McIver (left). Edited extracts from BorbidgeSh­eldon LNP review

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