david leyonhjelm

David Ean Leyonhjelm, born 1 April 1952, is an Australian politician, who is a Senator for New South Wales representing the Liberal Democratic Party, since 1 July 2014, and was re-elected in the 2016 full Senate election. Before being elected to Parliament, Leyonhjelm worked as a veterinarian, and then as an agribusiness consultant. He also writes columns for several Australian publications, with a concentration on rural issues.


David Leyonhjelm was born in Nhill, in the Wimmera, in Western Victoria and was raised in Heywood, on the dairy farm of his parents Bryan and Jean Leyonhjelm. The family is of Swedish noble origin. He was the oldest of four children, and as a teenager, trapped rabbits and worked in a shoe shop, to help support his family. When he was 15, his parents separated, and he lived with his mother in Melbourne, where he attended Dandenong High School. Leyonhjelm later won a scholarship to study veterinary science at the University of Melbourne, studying alongside Denis Napthine, a future Premier of Victoria. He has since completed Bachelor of Laws and Master of Business Administration degrees at Macquarie University.


Politically, Leyonhjelm was a member of Young Labor during the 1970s, and worked on the successful “It’s Time “campaign that helped elect Gough Whitlam, with the goal of ending compulsory military conscription. He later joined the Liberal Party, but resigned his membership in 1996 in protest against the stricter firearm laws introduced by John Howard. Leyonhjelm had been a member of the Shooters Party since 1992, and was Chair for a period of 5 years. After leaving the Shooters Party, Leyonhjelm, in 2005, became involved with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).


Running for the Australian Senate in New South Wales at the 2013 Federal election, Leyonhjelm was elected.

Leyonhjelm assumed his seat on 1 July 2014. In the ?irst sitting week, he successfully moved to have the Government’s Clean Energy (Income Tax Rates and Other Amendments) Bill considered by itself, instead of being grouped with other Legislation. The Bill, which subsequently failed to pass, would have repealed personal income tax cuts that were to be introduced as compensation for the carbon tax. In September 2014, he announced that Helen Dale, a writer and lawyer who won the Miles Franklin Award in 1995 (as Helen Demidenko), would be a senior adviser on policy matters. In November 2014, Leyonhjelm introduced as a Private Member’s Bill, a Freedom to Marry Bill, which would allow samesex marriage.

In August 2015 Leyonhjelm negotiated a deal to include a 12-month sunset clause on the temporary ban on importing the Adler lever action shotgun. The Federal Government had agreed to allow the importation of the shotgun, in exchange for support on migration laws. A week prior to the ban lapsing, as a result of the sunset clause, the Government re-imposed the ban.


Leyonhjelm and Bob Day, of the Family First Party, announced their intention, shortly after the 2013 election, to vote as a bloc in the Senate on economic issues, but to vote separately on social issues. Day has since resigned from the Senate, but Leyonhjelm has stated he intends to form a new voting bloc with his successor from Family First, as well as, Cory Bernardi from the Australian Conservatives. Both Leyonhjelm and Day have long been members of the Free Market Think Tank Institute of Public Affairs.


In the 44th Parliament, he supported the repeal of the Minerals Resources Rent Tax and Carbon Tax, but opposed the Abbott Government’s proposed paid parental leave and ‘direct action’ on Climate Change schemes as “bad in principle” and “a waste of taxpayers’ money”, respectively. The LDP’s position on Climate Change is that the scientific evidence is not yet “compelling” and that “changes in human activity could realistically reverse those consequences”, but the party “would favour market-based options”, if the science is confirmed by further study.

Speaking to BBC News in November 2016, Leyonhjelm questioned the motives and integrity of anti-poverty charity workers, particularly with regard to a conflict of interest in the continuation of their own employment, as opposed to their elimination of poverty and thus their obsolescence:

“The people who work for those charities have their careers tied up in the continuation of that charitable work. If they were too successful and poverty was eliminated, they wouldn’t have jobs anymore. They have a very long history in Australia of talking up poverty.”

Leyonhjelm wants the government-funded Age Pension payment to be viewed as welfare, and not an entitlement for taxpayers once they reach a certain age.


1. Debt.
We have too many politicians being afraid to make hard decisions, and preferring to be heroes by spending bucket-loads of other people’s money. Now our kids face having to pay off the debt. This could be a major problem if the economy goes into recession.

2. Red Tape.
Red tape is a huge issue where one regulation might seem to make sense, but after several years it becomes nearly impossible for people to do anything, whether it’s building a house or running a business.

3. Nanny state.
Once again, too many regulations means that the Government thinks it knows better than individuals. People often know what’s best for themselves, and, so long as they’re not hurting anyone else, should be allowed to make decisions for themselves.


David is a hard-working politician and very passionate. He thinks clearly, debates well and is a definite bene?it to the Senate of Australia and the Australian people.

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