David Leyonhjelm quits: Controversial senator who praised migrants for ‘delivering his pizzas and working at 7-Eleven’ abandons federal politics to take on Mark Latham at state level

Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm will quit federal politics next month to contest the NSW state election.

The move is set to pit Senator Leyonhjelm against one-time Liberal Democrats member and former federal Labor leader Mark Latham, who is running for One Nation in the state’s upper house at the March 23 election.

The crossbench senator was first elected to the upper house at the 2013 federal election and was re-elected at the 2016 double dissolution election.

Senator Leyonhjelm made the announcement on Sky News on Monday night, where he revealed plans to step down from federal politics either February 28 or March 1, depending on ‘how it works out for my staff.’

The senator said he’s making the move to state politics to focus more on ‘nanny-state issues’.

‘Red-tape issues are the ones that really annoy me and get up my nose,’ he said.

‘For example liquor licensing, where you can smoke, where you can vape, gambling, lock-out laws, assisted suicide.’

The legalisation of cannabis will also be an election issue for Senator Leyonhjelm.

‘I introduced a bill into the Senate to legalise cannabis at the federal level … but I didn’t get very far,’ he said.

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