No fights, no point scoring: LNP leader begins tough ride to next election

Queensland’s Liberal National Party MPs have elected David Crisafulli and David Janetzki as their leaders while the Labor government have been sworn in.

Nov 12, 2020, updated Nov 12, 2020
Opposition leader David Crisafulli. (Photo: AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Opposition leader David Crisafulli. (Photo: AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Queensland’s Liberal National Party MPs have elected David Crisafulli and David Janetzki as their leaders while the Labor government have been sworn in.

New party leader Crisafulli will review his party’s policies and shuffle shadow cabinet as he begins the “tough ride” to the next Queensland election.

Crisafulli was elected unopposed as leader and David Janetzki saw off three other contenders to become deputy after an LNP partyroom ballot on Thursday.

The pair take over from Deb Frecklington and Tim Mander, who resigned after last month’s election in which the opposition suffered a net loss of two or three seats with counting ongoing.

“We are smaller in number, but the fire burns,” Crisafulli said.

Among his first priorities is repairing the rift between the LNP’s executive and the parliamentary wing.

“People are over political point-scoring, whether that’s internal or external,” he said.

“I intend to have good relations right across the board and that involves maybe some of our political foes as well.

“We have one enemy, and that has to be the Labor Party, and I’m not into aimless, needless fights for no reason.”

He also plans to review the policies the LNP took to the election with changes to be made where appropriate.

“If you don’t accept that we lost, you’ll never move forward,” he said.

The LNP leader pledged to hold the Labor government to account but would not engage in unnecessary partisanship.

He said he would support good policy and only oppose policies that he believed in his heart were wrong.

“I am a conviction politician and I will stand before you and I’ll take the tough questions, but I will always do it true to my values,” he said.

“It’s going to be a tough ride. It’s four years. It’s a long journey.”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s new government was sworn in at Government House on Thursday morning.

Her cabinet includes 18 ministers and she also unveiled eight assistant ministers at the ceremony.

“Assistant ministers come from regions stretching from the far north to Ipswich,” Palaszczuk said.

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“They will work with my new ministers to ensure that every aspect of government endeavour is comprehensively addressed, especially our health and economic response to COVID.”

Crisafulli refused to criticise the cost of the premier’s enlarged cabinet when asked about it.

Her 26-person front bench means 26 MPs, or at least half the Labor caucus, are now in cabinet.

“There’s been enough wasted money in this place that I intend to call out,” the LNP leader said.

“I’m not going to nitpick over what the premier has done with her front bench.”

Crisafulli said he would also shuffle shadow cabinet with former leaders Frecklington and Mander likely to stay at the table.

But he promised his front bench would be chosen on merit rather than by factions or backroom figures.

“They will be the best people for the job. There will be new faces. They will be a great mixture,” he said.

Labor is on track to hold 51 or potentially 52 seats – four more than they had before the election – while the LNP could end up with 35, a net loss of two seats.

The government claimed the LNP seats of Bundaberg and Nicklin where they are leading by just 79 and 11 votes, respectively, on Wednesday night.

However, the Electoral Commission of Queensland said it would recount the votes in both seats.

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