Campbell Newman (Imag: AAP/Lukas Coch)

With the slow pace of the vaccine rollout already putting its reelection prospects in doubt, the Morrison government has emerged from the weekend with new headaches arising from a growing conservative rebellion over COVID-19 management.

The most visible manifestation was Saturday's anti-lockdown protests, which were attended by a government MP in George Christensen and a prominent Liberal Party activist in John Ruddick, who has defected to the Liberal Democrats and will run as the party's candidate in Tony Abbott's old seat of Warringah.

While none of this would have come as too much of a shock to anyone familiar with either individual's track record, it was followed overnight by the genuinely startling news that former Queensland premier Campbell Newman had quit the Liberal National Party with a view to running against it in the Senate.