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Honourable mention: Why some ex-pollies keep their 'title' but others don't bother

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Three former ministers have been added to the list of people able to be introduced as ‘The Honourable’. One former premier has not.

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Governor Paul De Jersey has formally accepted Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s request that three Labor ministers who retired at the last election be able to keep the prefix. Senior politicians can apply to keep using the prefix if they have met the criteria set out by Buckingham Palace.

The latest decisions were gazetted for Kate Jones and Coralee O’Rourke on Friday, after their former colleague Anthony Lynham was added to the list in March.

Jones can now use the title in her new role as an adviser with tech company Capital(b) and on the Australian Rugby League Commission, while Lynham, a maxillofacial surgeon, can technically be ‘The Honourable Dr Lynham’.

But of the 56 former premiers, ministers, speakers and judges added to the list this century, there is one notable exception: Liberal National Party premier Campbell Newman AO.

Labor dominates the modern additions to the list, due largely to the longevity of governments led by Peter Beattie and Anna Bligh, who were among those to apply for, and be granted permission to use, the prefix. They only needed to serve one year as premier to be eligible.

While judges don’t have to serve out a specific period to continue using the prefix after they leave the bench, ministers and speakers need to have been in the role for at least three years.

Given the Newman government fell six weeks short of three years in power, that rules out even its longest-serving ministers. The exception is Lawrence Springborg, who also served under Rob Borbidge in the state’s last Coalition government. Springborg, currently Mayor of Goondiwindi Regional Council, applied for, and was granted permission, to use the prefix in 2016.

But while Newman met the criteria for a former premier to keep using the prefix, a Department of Premier and Cabinet spokeswoman told InQueensland he had not applied.

Prior to his tilt at state politics, Newman was The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Brisbane, and before that an Army Major. Asked why he had not taken the prefix he was entitled to as a former premier, Newman cited “a combination of I hadn’t got around to it and it’s not something that’s very important to me”.

“Basically, I am fairly relaxed about the whole thing,” Newman told InQueensland.

As premier, Newman was accused of delaying requests for former Labor ministers to use the prefix. His then spokesman responding by saying the LNP’s priority was to “continue to repair the damage to Queensland caused by the mismanagement of the former Labor government, not bestow titles on former Labor MPs”.

Palaszczuk this week told parliament Newman had been seen in the precinct, and questioned whether he was reminiscing with his former LNP colleagues over the cuts they made in government.

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