Premier’s leadership style needs work

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman can weather the current political storm surrounding public service cutbacks and mining royalties, a Griffith University expert said today.

However, Professor John Kane (right) from Griffith’s School of Government and International Relations, believes Mr Newman would be well served by an adjustment to his leadership style as he moves forward.

Professor John Kane is co-author of The Democratic Leader, a new book which explores the challenges of political leadership.

“He was given a very powerful mandate by the people of Queensland and I think he is a long way from using it up,” Professor Kane said.

“His strategy is clearly to get the pain and gloom out of the way at an early stage.

“I don’t think he is in serious trouble yet. It would be very hard for anyone to topple him.”

Mr Newman’s leadership has been called into question in certain quarters this week after a hard-hitting budget that signalled the end of the line for 14,000 public service positions.

An increase in mining royalties also touched some raw nerves in the resources sector.

Professor Kane believes the Premier will face a sterner long-term challenge in “keeping the LNP troops in line and happy” and in securing the support of voters who were reacting strongly to the Bligh government as much as backing the LNP at this year’s landslide election.

“His leadership style is an issue. He is an army major and his style is command. As Lord Mayor of Brisbane, he had no real opposition for the majority of his time in office and could be Can-Do-Campbell commanding the fort.

“But now he’s in a Westminster-style political environment and he is going to have to be more politically adept at handling people.

“He may have long-term problems if he continues in his usual vein but I think he will soften around the edges as time moves on. We have seen signs of this in his expressions of regret over the public service cutbacks.”

Professor John Kane and Professor Haig Patapan co-authored The Democratic Leader, published in 2012.