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Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk Resigns

Updated: Dec 13, 2023

Annastacia Palaszczuk is the former Premier of Queensland, having served in the role for three consecutive terms. Ms. Palaszczuk led Queensland Labor in opposition following the 2012 state election, wherein Labor was left with only 7 MPs, through to the 2015 election when Labor came to power, earning Ms. Palaszczuk the title of “accidental Premiere.”

Annastacia Palaszczuk with the text "Annastacia Palaszczuk" foregrounded

After 9 years as Premier Ms. Palaszczuk announced she would be resigning from office at a press conference on Sunday the 10th of December 2023.

The Courier Mail published a story that evening attributing the “downfall” of Ms. Palaszczuk to Gary Bullock, a union official who The Courier Mail had also labelled as the ‘most powerful person in the state’ in 2022. The Courier Mail suggested that Mr. Bullock, who represents 150,000 workers as the State Secretary and National Political Director of the United Workers Union, had supported Ms. Palasczuk until a few weeks earlier when he had decided that she “was no longer the best person to lead state Labor.”

During her press conference, Ms. Palazsczuk gave her deputy Premiere, Seven MIles, a “strong endorsement” to replace her. By Tuesday, the 12th of December, it was announced that Mr. Miles would indeed replace Ms. Palaszczuk as Premiere and Leader of the Party.  Queensland’s Health Minister, Shannon Fentiman and Treasurer, Cameron Dick, had also contested the position. 

A deal was reportedly reached between Mr. Miles’ supporters, MPs within the United Workers Union, and and Mr. Dick’s supporters, those within the right-faction of the Labor Party, on Monday evening, with Mr. Dick being elevated to Deputy Premiere. 

Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Popularity Drops to Lowest in 8 Years

A poll conducted by YouGov for the Courier Mail and released in late October 2023 has revealed Annastacia Palaszczuk is no longer the preferred Premier of Queensland. This is the first time the opposition leader has been preferred since Ms. Palaszczuk was first elected in 2015, with the LNP maintaining its leader over Labor 52 to 48% in a two-party-preferred vote.

The poll also showed Ms. Palaszczuk’s net satisfaction rating had fallen to negative 20. This score had not been seen since August 2014 when Campbell Newman was Premier and is the worst result on record for the poll.

52% of those surveyed reported being dissatisfied with Ms. Palaszcuk’s performance as Premier with only 32% content with how she is performing in her role. Furthermore 55% of those surveyed stated they were “worse off” compared to April of last year, a 5% increase, with 42% stating they expected their financial situation to “get worse” over the next 12 months, a 4% increase compared to last year’s result.

When asked which party Queenslanders would vote for if the election was held today the breakdown was as follows:

  • LNP 41%

  • Labor 33%

  • Greens 13%

  • Pauline Hanson’s One Nation 8%

  • Katter’s Australia Party 2%

The poll’s results follow another poll conducted by RedBridge Group which saw more than 2000 Queenslanders surveyed. This poll reported the LNP leading Labor in a two-party-preferred vote 55% to 45%.

Speaking to the Australian Associated Press in late October, Ms. Palaszczuk repeated her unofficial campaign motto that ““What you see with me is what you get.”

$320 Million Social Housing Commitment

In June 2023, the Palaszczuk government announced plans to build 500 new social housing units as part of a $320 million commitment. The funding for the new homes will come from a combination of state and federal government sources with the state government contributing $220 million and the federal government contributing $100 million.

Ms. Palaszczuk highlighted the increased migration into Queensland causing pressure on housing, with 50,000 people having moved to Queensland in the past financial year:

"Pre-COVID, it was 20,000, so that's more than double … and that number is only going to increase…The federal government has increased the migration intake that's going to be coming from overseas, this is also going to be an issue raised at National Cabinet, it's going to put added pressure on what already is a pressure cooker.”

The first homes of the project are expected to be completed by mid-2025. The government has said that the new homes will be available to people who are in desperate need of housing, including people who are homeless, people who are living in overcrowded or substandard housing, and people who are at risk of homelessness.

While the announcement of the new social housing commitment has been welcomed by housing advocates, the Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) has also called on the government to do more. Aimee McVeigh, the QCOSS’ chief executive, criticised Ms. Palaszczuk’s claims that their government has built on average more than 10 homes per week since coming into power, noting that “It needs to build more than 50 social and affordable homes a week to keep up with demand.

Laptop Seizure

In February of 2022, Ms. Palaszczuk faced media scrutiny regarding the removal and data wiping of an Integrity Commission employee’s laptop by the Queensland Public Service Commission (PSC), the government agency which manages the Integrity Commission's budget and staff.

The Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission released the "Investigation Workshop:

Integrity Commissioner" in July of 2022. The report detailed that earlier media reports of the incident described as a "raid" or "seizure" were inaccurate and that the circumstances involving the memory wipe of a laptop was "wholly unremarkable":

"...the investigation concluded that:
i.There was no evidence of improper disclosure.
ii.The circumstances in which the laptops were retrieved from the Integrity Commissioner’s office were entirely ordinary, and the descriptions of ‘raid’ and ‘seizure’ do not reflect the reality of what occurred. Further, the circumstances in which one laptop was ‘wiped’ are wholly unremarkable.
iii.The information security arrangements in relation to information held by the Integrity Commissioner have been in place since the office’s inception. While there may be occasion to reconsider those arrangements as part of the broader review of the structural arrangements for the Integrity Commissioner, there was no evidence to suggest that these arrangements had led to any improper access of confidential Integrity Commissioner information."

Increase in Ombudsman’s Public Interest Disclosures Related to "Corrupt Conduct"

In April 2022, Ms. Palaszczuk was questioned by the media regarding the Ombudsman's Public Interest Disclosures Oversight Report which showed of 1766 disclosures, 1552 were related to "corrupt conduct" for the 2020/2021 period. This was almost double the 826 disclosures relating to corrupt conduct for the 2018/2019 period.

Ms. Palaszczuk responded to media questions by keeping focus on the Olympic Games:

“I’m just dealing with the Olympics today. Happy to answer any further questions tomorrow."

The questions came at a time when there were ongoing inquiries into the Office of Integrity Commissioner, the Office of the Independent Assessor and a formal Commission of Inquiry into the Crime and Corruption Commission.

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