Newly-elected Nationals leader David Littleproud found love with a glamorous bank executive just months after splitting with his wife.
Mr Littleproud spectacularly ousted former leader Barnaby Joyce in the battle for the party’s top job in a post-election leadership spill in Canberra on Monday.
The 45-year-old, who had a 20-year career in banking before he entered politics in 2015, couldn’t wipe the smile off his face post-spill when he said: ‘To be elected leader is one of the proudest moments of my life.’
The father-of-three posted happy snaps on Instagram of himself with Amelia Dobson, 37, as they cast their votes in the federal election and celebrated with ‘democracy sausages’ in his electorate Maranoa, west of Brisbane.
The pair are believed to have been an item since 2020 – after he and Sarah ended their 20-year marriage in 2019.
Mr Littleproud announced the separation the day after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed he had split from his ex-wife, Carmel Tebbutt .
David Littleproud and Amelia Dobson (pictured together) have been an item since about 2019
The couple posted happy snaps on election day – casting their votes, and celebrating with democracy sausages (pictured)
‘It is an amicable split,’ Mr Littleproud told the Warwick Daily News in January 2019, as he confirmed his marriage breakdown.
‘My wife Sarah and I have been separated for some time.’
Pictured: David Littleproud’s ex-wife, Sarah
The member for Maranoa had paid tribute to his wife in his maiden speech to Parliament in September 2016, a little more than a year before becoming a cabinet minister.
‘I would like to pay tribute to my family,’ he told the House of Representatives in 2016.
‘My wife, Sarah, and our three boys- Tom, Hugh and Harry – are a constant pillar of support for me and for that I am truly grateful.’
Since announcing the separation in 2019, Ms Dobson – who has a son with her ex-husband – and Mr Littleproud have been photographed together at events with their respective families.
They took a happy snap with her parents and two younger sisters at her family’s home in Clifton, in Mr Littleproud’s electorate, on Christmas Day in 2020, and then again 2021.
Ms Dobson regularly likes and shares Mr Littleproud’s posts on LinkedIn, most recently his celebration of 40 years of Nationals membership.
Like her boyfriend, Ms Dobson – who is originally from Hiroshima in Japan and has three sisters – had a lengthy career in banking.
Mr Littleproud (top left) is pictured with Ms Dobson (bottom left) at her family’s home on Christmas Day in 2021
The couple cast their votes in the federal election on May 21 in Mr Littleproud’s electorate of Maranoa
She joined Suncorp’s Toowoomba office in 2007, before leaving in 2017 for the Commonwealth Bank where she is an executive manager of regional and agribusiness for Queensland’s south-west.
Mr Littleproud also worked in agribusiness banking at Suncorp in Toowoomba in 2011. He was there for almost five years before he became a politician.
He worked for the National Australia Bank for 17 years before moving to Suncorp.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Mr Littleproud and Ms Dobson for comment.
Mr Littleproud won the battle for leadership after a three-way contest with former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce and Darren Chester.
The result meant Mr Joyce’s second tenure as leader lasted less than a year after he rolled Michael McCormack in June 2021.
The 45-year-old’s election represents a shift in direction for the Nationals and could help de-escalate the so-called climate wars.
Mr Joyce was against the Coalition’s net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 target while Mr Littleproud was in favour.
Mr Littleproud and Ms Dobson sip cocktails on a night out with her sister last year
Newly elected Nationals Senate Leader Bridget McKenzie (left), newly elected Nationals leader David Littleproud and newly elected Nationals Deputy Leader Perin Davey on Monday
The new leader said: ‘The National Party today starts its journey towards 2025, with a vibrant team, ready to articulate the policies that are important to regional and rural Australia.
‘This is about us as a party moving forward, not lurching to the left, not lurching to the right but bringing this thing called common sense to Canberra,’ he said.
‘A sensible centre is where you win elections, not chasing extremities down rabbit holes that don’t work.’
NSW senator Perin Davey was elected deputy leader, and Bridget McKenzie as the senate leader.
Mr Littleproud said he would work closely with the Liberal Party – now led by Peter Dutton – to hold Labor to account and ultimately return to the Coalition to power in 2025.
He added that there would be lessons from the election loss, but he was confident about the Nationals’ direction ahead of the 2025 poll.
‘There’ll be a lot of unpacking of the election results not only in National Party seats but also in Liberal seats, I think that’s what we need to learn from and understand,’ he said.
Barnaby Joyce has lost leadership of the Nationals to his former deputy David Littleproud. He left his wife in 2017 and had an affair with former Liberal staffer, Vikki Campion (pictured together with their sons)
‘What’s important is that we set forward on a pathway, a journey, to 2025 together.’
Mr Joyce released a statement after he lost the ballot on Monday, saying: ‘I suppose you think I’m sad. Not really.’
He congratulated the new leadership team, and said he would get a chance to spend more time with his family.
‘I want to congratulate David, Perin and Bridget, they have a mighty task ahead of them and I will give them all the support I can,’ he said.
‘Now, I have a chance to get back to my second greatest love, after my family, and that is my beloved people of New England, where I will have more time to get around my electorate and to be a person of service to them.’
In December, 2017, Mr Joyce used a parliamentary debate on same sex marriage to confirm he was no longer with Natalie, his ex-wife of 24 years, with whom he shares four daughters.
His affair with former staffer Vikki Campion’s hit the headlines in February 2018 after photos emerged of his former staffer heavily pregnant.
The couple now have two young sons together – Thomas and Sebastian.