The NSW Liberal Democrats Senator-elect started his political life as a member of Young Labor, working on the It’s Time campaign before switching to the Liberal Party in the 1980s.
He joined the Shooters Party in 1992, while still a Liberal, rising to the rank of Chairman and gaining a seat on the NSW Legislative Council in 2003.
He resigned from the Liberal Party in 1996 and, following the federal reregistration of the Shooters Party, used the Outdoor Recreation Party to run a team of shooters for the Senate and marginal NSW seats.
Having been firmly settled in the LDP for years, he told SBS he had things he wished to achieve as a Senator, but said primarily he wanted the stop the government from “intruding into our lives”.
“We think the government should leave people alone unless they’re hurting other people,” he said.
“Most political parties are interested in getting the government to do something else than what they’re doing now. My objective is to get them to stop doing some of the things they’re doing and not start new ones either.”
Listen: Stephanie Anderson speaks with David Leyonhjelm.
The agribusiness consultant and former veterinarian has strong views on policy, saying he would support a repeal of the carbon tax and dismissed US President Barack Obama’s pledge to address climate change as “just talk”.
“When the rest of the world decides that climate change is ready to dos something about – and by that I don’t mean talking about it, I mean doing something – then Australia should do something too,” he said.
“But until then, my view is it’s a waste of money.”
Mr Leyonhjelm has already made news with the announcement of his alliance with Family First Senator-elect Bob Day, saying the pair agreed on “many things”.
“It makes sense for us to work closely together,” he said.
“… We think we’ll achieve more by working together.”
Mr Leyonhjelm said some of the budget measures put forward by the Abbott Government were clumsy, but noted that he was “broadly sympathetic” to proposed policies surrounding welfare.
“We are living beyond our means,” he said.
“There are way too many people receiving welfare that don’t deserve it… We do need a good safety net for those who are out of luck, but we can’t have 8 million people who are out of luck. It just doesn’t compute.”