Annastacia Palaszczuk announced she was stepping down as Queensland premier ending a tumultuous reign marked by falling popularity among voters.
Labor’s dire polling heading into next year’s election had many pundits and her opponents claiming there was growing dissatisfaction over her nine-year stint as premier.
Polling conducted by Redbridge in August showed Labor heading to a shellacking with the LNP leading by a 55 to 45 percent margin on a two-party preferred basis.
These type of dire results even led to a former minister in the Beattie and Bligh Labor governments and reported power broker Robert Schwarten last week urging current MPs to adopt a ‘new model’.
Ms Palaszczuk came under fire after after attending several red carpet events and overseas holidays with her surgeon boyfriend Dr Reza Adib – with her jet-setting life earning her the nickname ‘part-time premier’.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made the teary announcement on Sunday she was stepping down from the jobs
Ms Palaszczuk and her partner Reza Adib’s appearance at a number of high-profile social events led to accusations she more interested in parties than politics
LNP leader David Crisafulli claimed bitter infighting had broken out in Labor’s ranks.
‘What’s really troubling is the government’s fighting themselves and they’re not fighting for Queenslanders. And that’s becoming more and more apparent,’ he said.
Deputy LNP leader Jarrod Bleijie even claimed information was leaked to him suggesting that Queensland ALP Deputy Leader Steven Miles and Health Minister Shannon Fentiman were getting ready to depose Ms Palaszczuk.
‘You see it in the parliament, Labor MPs speak to us, they’ve been leaking against the premier for all but 12 months now,’ Mr Bleijie told Sky News
‘It’s certainly getting to this stage and we’ve got Labor’s cuts, Labor’s chaos and Labor’s Christmas coup. That’s the reality of it.’
A poll for Nine Newspapers this week showed Ms Palaszczuk’s personal popularity had fallen further against LNP leader David Crisafulli.
That poll showed Ms Crisafulli now led Ms Palaszczuk as preferred premier 39 per cent to 34 per cent.
Another poll conducted for The Courier Mail in October showed the third-term government was on track for a bruising defeat under Ms Palaszczuk, with 47 per cent of respondents agreeing that the state was ‘headed in the wrong direction’.
That response was up 20 percentage points from the October 2020 state election.
Ms Palaszczuk’s commitment to the job has also become an issue with some saying she ‘checked out’ from the role this year.
In June she was forced to furiously shoot down claims she had become a ‘part-time premier’ who spent too much time on red carpets with celebrities and her surgeon boyfriend Dr Reza Adib.
Insiders claimed MPs and high-level public servants had become disgruntled by her tendency to frequently attend glamorous social events.
Ms Palaszczuk was snapped with singer Elton John as she presented him with a street sign in honour of his name in September 2017.
Ms Palaszczuk and Dr Reza Adib pictured at Strabroke Handicap race day in 2022 – one of the many public outings that pair made together
Ms Palaszczuk and Dr Adib on the red carpet at the Logies in 2022
She was photographed one month later with actor Chris Hemsworth during the Australian premiere of Thor: Ragnarok in October.
Ms Palaszczuk then met Jason Momoa during the premiere of Aquaman in October 2018.
In 2022, Ms Palaszczuk was seen at the Magic Millions Race Day on January 15, and the premiere of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis film on June 4.
She then hit the Stradbroke Handicap race day on June 11, and the TV Week Logie Awards on June 19 – to name a few.
Mr Adib was seen hanging on her shoulder during many of the outings.
He accompanied the premier to the first meeting of the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games in May 2022 – with the news sparking outrage and forcing Ms Palaszczuk to issue an apology.
Even former Labor leader Peter Beattie urged her to start a new agenda to prove she still wanted to be premier.
Ms Palaszczuk also came under fire after taking several breaks including a cruise and overseas holidays.
In 2019, she went on leave to holiday on a cruise while the Black Summer bushfires devastated parts of Australia – including Queensland, NSW and Victoria.
She also began taking overseas holidays for the first time in her period as premier with a three-week overseas jaunt in January.
This was followed by another trip to Italy in August, which led to the embarrassing figure that she had spent 12 more days on vacation than in Parliament by the time she came back.
Ms Palaszczuk hit back with a sassy social media post following outrage over her jaunt to Europe – where she was ambushed by the media in Naples.
‘I am on leave. Everyone is entitled to leave,’ she wrote on Facebook.
‘I ask that the media respects my privacy. Steven Miles is Acting Premier. I return on September 11.’
In 2022, Ms Palaszczuk was seen at the Magic Millions Race Day on January 15, and the premiere of Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis film on June 4, 2022
During 2023 questions began to be raised about Ms Palaszczuk’s commitment to the job as she took two lengthy overseas vacations
Acting Premier Mr Miles even held a cabinet meeting without her in September, which was the first such meeting Ms Palaszczuk had missed in six years.
Ms Palaszczuk said at the time she had ‘health issues’.
Despite Ms Palaszczuk’s thumping 2020 electoral triumph, which reflected approval for her draconian border restrictions during Covid, making her the first woman to win three state elections in Australia, the third term has seen the shine come off.
The magnitude of the state’s housing and cost-of-living crisis was starkly highlighted this week by footage of the tent city that is sprawling out along the Brisbane river in the inner-city suburb of South Brisbane.
Health costs especially for new ambulance stations have blown out and the state’s hospitals have been hit by tragic scandals, including their handling a deadly fungal cluster in a transplant unit and letting an autistic man starve to death.
The adulation of Ms Palaszczuk landing of the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics has long since given way to recriminations over the expensive redevelopment of the Gabba ground that recently led Brisbane’s Lord Mayor to quit a planning forum.
Rampant youth crime remains a problem in many areas of Queensland and has even led to a protest group marching on state parliament.
Whatever the reasons for her decision there is one aspect of the timing that does not benefit Ms Palaszczuk.
She will miss out of the 11 per cent pay rise given her and the 93 other state MPs over the next two years.