Annastacia Palaszczuk

Annastacia Palaszczuk (/ˈpæləʃ/ (listen), Polish: [pa'waʂt͡ʂuk];[1] born 25 July 1969) is an Australian politician and 39th Premier of Queensland, serving since the 2015 election. She has been a Labor member of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland since the 2006 election, representing the electorate of Inala. She held various ministerial portfolios in the Bligh Labor government from 2009. Following Labor's defeat in the 2012 election, Palaszczuk succeeded Bligh as leader of Queensland Labor. After the defeat of the Newman LNP government in 2015, Palaszczuk became the first woman in Australia to become Premier of a state from Opposition. Her first ministry was majority female (8 of 14), a first in Australia.[2]

Annastacia Palaszczuk

39th Premier of Queensland
Assumed office
14 February 2015
MonarchElizabeth II
GovernorPaul de Jersey
DeputyJackie Trad
Preceded byCampbell Newman
Minister for the Arts
of Queensland
Assumed office
14 February 2015
Preceded byIan Walker
Leader of the Opposition in Queensland
In office
28 March 2012  14 February 2015
PremierCampbell Newman
DeputyTim Mulherin
Preceded byJeff Seeney
Succeeded byLawrence Springborg
30th Leader of the Labor Party in Queensland
Elections: 2015, 2017
Assumed office
28 March 2012
DeputyTim Mulherin
Jackie Trad
Preceded byAnna Bligh
Minister for Transport
of Queensland
In office
21 February 2011  26 March 2012
PremierAnna Bligh
Preceded byRachel Nolan
Succeeded byScott Emerson
Minister for Multicultural Affairs
of Queensland
In office
26 March 2009  26 March 2012
PremierAnna Bligh
Preceded byLindy Nelson-Carr
Succeeded byJack Dempsey
Minister for Disabilities
of Queensland
In office
26 March 2009  21 February 2011
PremierAnna Bligh
Succeeded byCurtis Pitt
Member of the Queensland Parliament
for Inala
Assumed office
9 September 2006
Preceded byHenry Palaszczuk
Personal details
Born (1969-07-25) 25 July 1969
Durack, Queensland, Australia
Political partyLabor
George Megalogenis
(m. 1996; div. 1998)

Simon Every
(m. 2004; div. 2009)
EducationSt. Mary's College
Alma materUniversity of London (MA)
University of Queensland (BA, LLB)
Australia National University (GDLP)
OccupationPolicy adviser

Early life and education

Palaszczuk was raised in the Brisbane suburb of Durack, the daughter of veteran state Labor MP Henry Palaszczuk, who was born in Germany to Polish parents.[3] Her Australian mother, Lorelle, is descended from German settlers.[4] She attended St Mary's College, Ipswich from 1982 to 1986.[5] She has degrees in Arts and Laws from the University of Queensland, a Masters of Arts from the University of London (where she was a Chevening Scholar), and a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from Australian National University.[6]

Political career

Palaszczuk worked as a policy adviser to a number of Labor ministers, including Minister for Communities, Disabilities and Seniors, Warren Pitt and former Minister for the Environment, Dean Wells.[7] She later decided to have a career in the legal profession and was studying for admission as a solicitor when her father announced his intention to retire at the 2006 election.

Bligh Government

In the wake of her father's retirement, Palaszczuk contested and won Labor preselection for his seat of Inala in south-west Brisbane, the safest Labor seat in Queensland, and was elected with a margin of more than 30 points.

On 9 October 2008, Palaszczuk was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Main Roads and Local Government in the wake of Ronan Lee's defection to the Greens. Just over five months later, she was appointed Minister for Disability Services and Multicultural Affairs in the Bligh ministry following the 2009 election.[8] In February 2011, she was promoted to Minister for Transport and Multicultural Affairs.[9]

Leader of the opposition

At the 2012 election, the Bligh government was overwhelmingly defeated by Campbell Newman-led Liberal National Party, losing 44 seats. Palaszczuk suffered a 14-point swing in Inala, but retained her seat with a 46.2 per cent primary vote and a 56.9 per cent two-party vote.[10]

The day after the election, Bligh resigned as premier and party leader and retired from politics. Palaszczuk, as one of only three surviving members of Bligh's cabinet, announced that she would be a candidate to succeed Bligh.[11] Curtis Pitt initially said he would stand, but withdrew. This left Palaszczuk to take the leadership unopposed at a meeting of the Labor Caucus on 28 March in Ipswich. Bligh did not attend the meeting. Tim Mulherin was elected Deputy Leader, also unopposed.[12]

Palaszczuk faced the task of rebuilding a party which had just suffered the worst defeat of a sitting government in Queensland history, and amongst the worst that a governing party has ever suffered at the state level in Australia. She also faced the difficulty of leading an opposition caucus of only seven members, two short of official status (though Newman subsequently promised that Labor would have the full rights and resources entitled to the official opposition).[13] After taking the leadership, Palaszczuk said, "We need to make ourselves relevant to voters. We need to get back to our basics. Workers' rights, protecting the environment, investment in education—these are core Labor principles and somewhere along the way we simply lost our way." She also said, "I'm under no illusion of the task ahead, of the rebuild that we need to do and the fact that we need to restore people's faith in the Queensland Labor Party".[14]

Following her election, Palaszczuk apologised for "breaching the trust of Queenslanders", a reference to the Bligh government's decision to sell off state assets after promising not to do so at the 2009 election. This decision had been "poorly communicated to the community", she said, "There were other issues, but that is the single point where we lost faith with the community. For that I apologise." Palaszczuk defended the decision itself, saying it was made to save jobs across the state, but conceded that the Government should have been more open more quickly regarding the policy.[12]

On 29 March 2012, Palaszczuk announced that she would support the state parliamentary term being extended to four years, as is the case in the other Australian states. Newman indicated he supported the move as well.[13]

2015 election

During her time as opposition leader, Palaszczuk closed the 2-party gap between Labor and the LNP, and on several occasions outpolled Newman as preferred premier.[15] Despite this, most commentators gave Labor little chance of winning the 2015 state election. Labor needed a 36-seat swing to make Palaszczuk Queensland's second female premier and Australia's first female premier elected from opposition—a task thought nearly impossible given that the party only went into the election with nine seats (having won two seats from the LNP in by-elections).

However, in a result that surprised even the most optimistic Labor observers, Labor won a 12-point swing, and projections on election night saw the party very close to winning a majority government. Depending on the source, Labor was either two or three seats short of outright victory.[16][17] Labor also ousted Newman in his own seat, something that had only happened to a sitting Premier once before in Queensland's history.[17] The final result saw 44 Labor seats and 42 LNP seats. The balance of power rested with the lone independent in the chamber, Peter Wellington, and the two MPs from Katter's Australian Party. On 5 February, Wellington announced his support for a Labor government under Palaszczuk, giving Labor 45 of 89 seats, a parliamentary majority of one.[18] Palaszczuk herself reverted Inala to its previous status as a comfortably safe Labor seat, scoring an 18-point swing to increase her majority to 25 percent, the second-safest in the state.


On 9 February 2015, with projections showing Labor assured of at least a minority government, Palaszczuk said she intended to meet with Governor Paul de Jersey on 11 February and advise him that she could form a government.[19] Hours after the results were declared, de Jersey formally invited Palaszczuk to form a government.[20] She was sworn in on 14 February 2015.[21] It was only the seventh change of government in Queensland since 1915.

Initially, Palaszczuk had herself, deputy leader Jackie Trad, and Curtis Pitt sworn in as an interim three-person government.[22][23] The full ministry was sworn in on 16 February 2015,[24][25] with Palaszczuk taking on the Arts portfolio alongside her Premiership.

Shortly after taking government, Labor MP Billy Gordon was forced to resign from the party by Palaszczuk due to an undeclared criminal history. She requested he quit parliament however he refused and sat as an independent.[26]

Successful amendments to the electoral act through legislation and referenda in early 2016 included: adding an additional four parliamentary seats from 89 to 93, changing from optional preferential voting to full-preferential voting, and moving from unfixed three-year terms to fixed four-year terms.[27]

2017 election

Palaszczuk led Labor into the 2017 Queensland state election in hopes of winning a second term. Polls suggested the race would be close.

The result was not known for almost two weeks. Eleven days after the election, ABC election analyst Antony Green's election computer indicated that the incumbent Labor minority government had won at least 47 of the 93 seats in the expanded Legislative Assembly, enough to form a majority government.[28][29][30] Labor ultimately won 48 seats, a net four-seat swing in its favour, allowing it to form government in its own right by two seats.

Personal life

Palaszczuk was married to journalist George Megalogenis from 1996 to 1998, and to Simon Every, who was then Senator Joe Ludwig's chief of staff, from 2004 to 2009.[31] From 2015 to 2018, her partner was Shaun Drabsch, an infrastructure adviser. During the 2017 Queensland election, Drabsch was alleged to have a conflict of interest over Adani Group's Carmichael coal mine.[32][33] Palaszczuk and Drabsch split "amicably" in February 2018.[34]

See also


  1. Mark Ludlow (20 October 2016). "Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on her pragmatic approach to politics". The Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  2. "Historic day for women in Queensland". Sunshine Coast Daily. 16 February 2015. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  3. "Palaszczuk, Mr Heinrich (Henry)". Former Members Register. Queensland Parliament. Archived from the original on 13 February 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  4. "Annastacia Palaszczuk: what you don't know". The Courier Mail. 2 February 2015.
  5. "Queensland premier proud of her Ipswich background". Queensland Times. Archived from the original on 9 May 2016. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  6. Leonie Mellor; Elaine Ford. "Queensland election 2015: Who is new Labor premier Annastacia Palaszczuk?". Australian Broadcasting Corporation 13 February 2015. Archived from the original on 14 February 2015. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  7. "Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk". Queensland Parliament. Archived from the original on 5 October 2017. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  8. Queensland Parliament House biography Archived 16 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  9. "Premier announces new Cabinet portfolio responsibilities". Government of Queensland. 21 February 2011. Archived from the original on 18 March 2012.
  10. "2012 State General Election: Inala District Summary". Electoral Commission Queensland. 5 February 2013. Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  11. "Palaszczuk confirms run for leadership". The Courier-Mail. 27 March 2012. Archived from the original on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  12. Michael Madigan (28 March 2012). New ALP leader Annastacia Palaszszuk apologises for the sale of public assets, the cause for Labor's ballot disaster Archived 16 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine. The Courier-Mail
  13. "Fixed four-year terms on the horizon in the Sunshine State". The Australian. 29 March 2012. Archived from the original on 1 March 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  14. "Labor selects new leader Annastacia Palaszczuk to slay giant Campbell Newman". Archived from the original on 28 March 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  15. "Opinion Polls". Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  16. Agius, Kym (31 January 2015). "Queensland election 2015: Campbell Newman concedes Ashgrove to ALP's Kate Jones". ABC News. Australia. Archived from the original on 3 February 2015. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  17. Wardill, Steven; Tin, Jason (1 February 2015). "Queensland election 2015: Annastacia Palaszczuk's Labor on brink of victory". The Sunday Mail. Retrieved 1 February 2015.
  18. "Queensland Election: Peter Wellington supports Labor to govern". Brisbane Times. Archived from the original on 7 February 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  19. Withey, Andree; Agius, Kym (9 February 2015). "Queensland election 2015: Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk to seek Governor's permission to form government". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 10 February 2015. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  20. Robertson, Joshua (13 February 2015). "Annastacia Palaszczuk new premier of Queensland after Labor wins 44 seats". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 13 February 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  21. "Queensland election 2015: Annastacia Palaszczuk sworn in as Premier". Australian Broadcasting Corporation 14 February 2015. Archived from the original on 14 February 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  22. Killoran, Matthew; Wardill, Steven (14 February 2015). "Queensland Government: Annastacia Palaszczuk sworn in as Premier, Jackie Trad named Deputy Premier, Curtis Pitt named Treasurer". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  23. Atfield, Cameron (14 February 2015). "Palaszczuk takes Premier's reins". The Age. Melbourne. Archived from the original on 16 February 2015. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  24. "Queensland Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announces new Cabinet". Brisbane Times. 15 February 2015. Archived from the original on 16 February 2015. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  25. "Queensland's new Labor Cabinet sworn in at Government House". Australian Broadcasting Corporation 16 February 2015. Archived from the original on 22 February 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  26. "Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk expels Cook MP Billy Gordon over criminal record, government in jeopardy: ABC 29 March 2015". Archived from the original on 29 March 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  27. "Electoral Law Ructions in the Queensland Parliament". Antony Green's Election Blog. Archived from the original on 1 March 2017. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  28. "Qld Election 2017". ABC Elections. Archived from the original on 4 December 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  29. "Labor claims 47th seat in Qld election", The Courier-Mail, 6 December 2017
  30. "Labor hits magic 47 seats it needs for a majority". The Age. 6 December 2017. Archived from the original on 6 December 2017. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  31. "Can being born to rule be enough for Labor's Anna Palaszczuk" Archived 10 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine by Damien Murphy, The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 January 2015
  32. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's partner Shaun Drabsch by her side for Parliament's opening ceremony Archived 23 October 2017 at the Wayback Machine, Steven Wardill, The Courier-Mail, 25 March 2015
  33. Queensland election 2017: Adani megamine veto threat, Sarah Vogler & Renee Viellaris, The Courier-Mail, 4 November 2017
  34. Dewey, Imogen (10 February 2018). "QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirms split with partner". Nine Network. Archived from the original on 12 February 2018. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
Political offices
Preceded by
Lindy Nelson-Carr
Minister for Disability Services
Succeeded by
Curtis Pitt
Minister for Multicultural Affairs
Succeeded by
Jack Dempsey
Preceded by
Rachel Nolan
Minister for Transport
Succeeded by
Scott Emerson
Preceded by
Jeff Seeney
Leader of the Opposition in Queensland
Succeeded by
Lawrence Springborg
Preceded by
Campbell Newman
Premier of Queensland
Preceded by
Ian Walker
Minister for the Arts
Party political offices
Preceded by
Anna Bligh
Leader of the Labor Party in Queensland
Parliament of Queensland
Preceded by
Henry Palaszczuk
Member for Inala
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