Lawrence Springborg

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The Honourable
Lawrence Springborg
Minister for Health of Queensland
Assumed office
3 April 2012
Premier Campbell Newman
Preceded by Geoff Wilson
Leader of the Opposition of Queensland
In office
4 February 2003 – 18 September 2006
Deputy Fiona Simpson (2008)
Mark McArdle (2008–2009)
Preceded by Mike Horan
Succeeded by Jeff Seeney
In office
21 January 2008 – 2 April 2009
Preceded by Jeff Seeney
Succeeded by John-Paul Langbroek
Deputy Leader of the Opposition of Queensland
In office
2 April 2009 – 11 April 2011
Leader John-Paul Langbroek
Preceded by Mark McArdle
Succeeded by Tim Nicholls
Minister for Natural Resources of Queensland
In office
16 February 1998 – 26 June 1998
Premier Rob Borbidge
Preceded by Howard Hobbs
Succeeded by Rod Welford
Member of the Queensland Parliament for Carnarvon
In office
2 December 1989 – 19 September 1992
Preceded by Peter McKechnie
Succeeded by Seat abolished
Member of the Queensland Parliament for Southern Downs
Warwick (1992–2001)
Assumed office
19 September 1992
Preceded by Des Booth
Personal details
Born (1968-02-17) 17 February 1968 (age 46)
Political party Liberal National
Other political
National (1989–2008)
Spouse(s) Linda Springborg
Nickname(s) The Borg

Lawrence James Springborg (born 17 February 1968) is an Australian politician who was sworn in as Queensland's Minister for Health on 3 April 2012 and is a former Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in Queensland.

As Leader of the Opposition, he led the National Party to defeats at both the 2004 and 2006 Queensland elections. He resigned as leader after his second election defeat, and was replaced by his former deputy, Jeff Seeney. However, after only 16 months as leader and facing poor opinion polling against Seeney, Springborg replaced him.

He played a part in the creation of the Liberal National Party, but led it to defeat at the 2009 Queensland election. On 2 April 2009, John-Paul Langbroek was elected as his successor as the Leader of the Opposition in Queensland. Springborg was then elected Deputy Leader by fellow party members.[1] Springborg's deputy leadership ended in early 2011.

Early life[edit]

Born in 1968, Lawrence Springborg resided in the town Yelarbon for much of his younger life. He left school at the age of 14 and went on to work a farm on Queensland's Darling Downs for seven years before he was elected to Parliament in 1989 at the age of 21.

Parliamentary career[edit]

In the 1989 Queensland state election, Springborg became the youngest person elected to the Parliament of Queensland, winning the safe Nationals seat of Carnarvon, on the Darling Downs. In the same year, the 32-year reign of the Nationals at a State level drew to a close. Springborg represented a new generation of Nationals not associated with the era of long-serving former Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, and the allegations of corruption and maladministration arising from the Fitzgerald Inquiry. Subsequent redistributions forced Springborg to relocate to his current seat of Southern Downs.

The Nationals remained in opposition until 1996, when the Goss Labor government lost office following the 1995 state election and a consequential adverse finding in the Queensland Court of Disputed Returns and subsequent by-election loss of the seat of Mundingburra by Labor led the resignation of the then Premier Wayne Goss. The reformed National-Liberal coalition took power under Rob Borbidge but only with the support of independent MLA Liz Cunningham. In 1998, shortly before the Borbidge government lost office, Springborg was sworn in as Minister for Natural Resources, again setting a record as Queensland's youngest ever minister.

The 2001 state elections saw a massive win for the Labor Party, with Premier Peter Beattie going from a one-seat to twenty-two seat majority, and the Nationals reduced to 12 seats out of the 89-seat Parliament. After the election loss, the Coalition with the Liberals was ended and Springborg was elected Deputy Opposition Leader.

Borbidge subsequently resigned as Leader of the Nationals and his place was taken by Mike Horan, father of international Rugby Union player Tim Horan. After widespread speculation and criticism, the Nationals elected Springborg as leader in 2003.

2004 election[edit]

The campaign for the 2004 state election relied heavily on Springborg's personal profile. He literally ran for much of the campaign, appearing jogging through State forests on electoral advertising emphasising his physical fitness. The Nationals marketed Springborg merchandise extensively, including life-size cardboard cutouts. In a move unthinkable for Nationals of an earlier era, he appeared in a Courier-Mail photograph clad only in a towel and ironing his own shirt.[2]

2006 election[edit]

As water management became an increasingly important issue during the drought, Springborg criticised Labor's handling of the water issue. Amid speculation that the next state election would be called early, the Liberal Party deposed Quinn and elected Bruce Flegg as leader in his place, who has in the past had a poor relationship with Springborg. Springborg pressed Beattie to serve a full term and not call an election before one was due. On 15 August 2006, Beattie called an election for 9 September of that year. Springborg again conceded defeat at 8pm on 9 September 2006.[3]

In the wake of his second election defeat, he announced his resignation as leader of the National Party on 14 September 2006. His former deputy, Jeff Seeney ascended to the leadership position uncontested on 18 September 2006, alongside Maroochydore representative Fiona Simpson as Deputy Leader.[4]

Political comeback[edit]

After Deputy Fiona Simpson withdrew her support for current leader Jeff Seeney, he announced a partyroom challenge to take place on 21 January 2008, with former leader Springborg the front runner.[5] Springborg won the challenge and like his rolling of Mike Horan in 2003, Springborg's rolling of Seeney meant that Springborg once again ousted a leader prior to this leader being given a chance to lead his party into a election.

After resuming the leadership he began renewed talks of a merger to form a single 'non-Labor force' in Queensland. On 26 July 2008 this became reality when both parties voted to form the Liberal National Party of Queensland.[6]

Conservative merger[edit]

The failure of the two conservative parties to sign a new Coalition Agreement convinced Springborg of the need to merge the Liberals and Nationals at a state level. Presenting a proposal modelled on the Liberal Party of Canada, Springborg went about campaigning through 2004 for the support of both state party organisations in creating a new unified party.

Springborg's proposal ran into early hurdles when John Howard, John Anderson, and other Federal Coalition identities dismissed the idea of a state-level merger.[citation needed] Bob Quinn and the state Liberals reacted cautiously, ultimately rebuffing Springborg's efforts. However, Springborg did attract strong support for the idea from the National Party at a State organisational level, with the Central Executive supporting his proposal in February 2005. Springborg toned down some of his advocacy[citation needed], however, and was content to announce a renewal of the Coalition agreement with the Liberals on 26 September 2005, aiming to maximise Labor's trouble regarding the scandal instigated by Dr Jayant Patel and the Bundaberg public hospital.

On 29 May 2006, plans for merger received a new life when the state division of the Liberal party announced its in-principal support for the idea. State director Graeme Greene stated that the merged party "would effectively operate under the federal Liberal Party's model".

However, senior figures within both the National and Liberal parties federally, particularly federal Nationals leader Mark Vaile, quickly spoke out against the proposed merger[citation needed] . By the end of the week, Springborg had to rescind his proposal.

On 26 July 2008, his vision of a united non-Labor force in Queensland finally became reality when both parties voted to form the Liberal National Party of Queensland. He has been described as the "father of the party" by successor John-Paul Langbroek.[7]

2009 election[edit]

Springborg led the LNP into the 2009 Queensland election; despite opinion polls predicting a close contest the ALP led by Anna Bligh retained government. A 20-seat swing to the LNP would have been required to deliver majority government. Springborg led the LNP to an eight percent swing and took 10 seats from Labor, the largest swing to the conservatives in over 14 years. However, the LNP came up 11 seats short of making Springborg premier, largely due to winning only six seats in Brisbane. Following his third electoral defeat, Springborg announced his retirement as party leader and instead was elected deputy leader under John-Paul Langbroek.[8]

Springborg resigned as deputy leader on 22 March 2011, after Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman announced he was launching a challenge for the LNP leadership.[9]


  1. ^ "John-Paul Langbroek elected new leader of Queensland LNP". AAP. 2 April 2009. 
  2. ^ Frances Whiting (2009-03-17). "Sexing up the Queensland election". Retrieved 2014-06-25. 
  3. ^ "Beattie wins historic fourth term". 2006-09-09. Retrieved 2011-03-24. 
  4. ^ Steven Wardill and Rosemary Odgers (2006-09-18). "Seeney takes National Party reins". Herald Sun. Retrieved 2006-09-18. [dead link]
  5. ^ Bring on challenge, says Seeney, The Australian, 19 January 2008.
  6. ^ Dunlevy, Gabrielle (2008-07-26). "Merger a win for 'grassroots democracy'". Retrieved 2011-03-24. 
  7. ^,25197,25282333-2702,00.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  8. ^ Odgers, Rosemary; Wardill, Steven (3 April 2009). "New LNP leader John Paul Langbroek warns dissidents". The Courier-Mail. 
  9. ^ Campbell Newman's Queensland coup. 6PM with George Negus (Ten News), 2011-03-22.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Mike Horan
Leader of the Opposition in Queensland
2003 – 2006
Succeeded by
Jeff Seeney
Preceded by
Jeff Seeney
Leader of the Opposition in Queensland
2008 – 2009
Succeeded by
John-Paul Langbroek
Parliament of Queensland
Preceded by
Peter McKechnie
Member for Carnarvon
1989 – 1992
Seat abolished
Preceded by
Des Booth
Member for Warwick
1992 – 2001
Seat abolished
New seat Member for Southern Downs
2001 – present
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mike Horan
Leader of the National Party in Queensland
2003 – 2006
Succeeded by
Jeff Seeney
Preceded by
Jeff Seeney
Leader of the National Party in Queensland
Party amalgamated
New political party Leader of the Liberal National Party in Queensland
2008 – 2009
Succeeded by
John-Paul Langbroek