Newman takes his last bow as mayor
Lord Mayor Campbell Newman has said his goodbyes, giving an extended farewell speech at today’s Brisbane City Council meeting.
Cr Newman, who is quitting in a bid to enter Queensland Parliament as leader of the Liberal National Party, reviewed his seven years as mayor and gave thanks to councillors, public
servants and council workers.
“I have an enormous amount of respect for what you people do,” Cr Newman said of council workers. “You get in there and do the fundamental work and I commend you for that.”
The retiring mayor thanked past and present members of the Liberal Party for their “loyal support”, saying he was “thrilled” to have worked with people who were dedicated to serving Brisbane.
Cr Newman also thanked his personal staff and his family watching from the public gallery, his wife, Lisa, reduced to tears as he finished his speech.
He spoke of his “passionate” affection for Brisbane and how unfortunate it was to sever ties with council members.
But it wasn’t all sweetness and light, Opposition and independent councillors repeatedly interjecting and calling points of order, as well as seeking to ask questions, while the governing majority moved three extensions of time for the speech to continue.
Cr Newman thanked the Opposition but simultaneously criticised them for having “no dignity” as they accused him of “cutting and running”. He said former deputy mayor David Hinchliffe was the only Labor councillor he respected.
Opposition leader Shayne Sutton said Cr Newman’s speech was a vehicle to avoid question time.
“For the second week in a row Cr Newman has done nothing but grandstand in order to push question time out of the media’s scrutiny,” she said.
Cr Newman said the media would have access to question time, “although it may be two to three hours with these interruptions”.
He listed his achievement as including the Clem7 tunnel, the green bridge from Dutton Park to Queensland University, the Go Between bridge and improvements to the bus fleet with the addition of 700 buses.
“Instead of over-promising and under-delivering like the ALP, we’ve under-promised and over-delivered,” he said.
But Cr Newman showed some apprehension about his move into state politics – comparing his goodbye speech with that of a pilot before “a bombing mission”.