Annastacia Palaszczuk

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The Honourable
Annastacia Palaszczuk
MP
Leader of the Opposition of Queensland
Incumbent
Assumed office
28 March 2012
Premier Campbell Newman
Deputy Tim Mulherin
Preceded by Jeff Seeney
Leader of the Australian Labor Party
in Queensland
Incumbent
Assumed office
28 March 2012
Deputy Tim Mulherin
Preceded by Anna Bligh
Minister for Transport
of Queensland
In office
21 February 2011 – 26 March 2012
Premier Anna Bligh
Preceded by Rachel Nolan
Succeeded by Scott Emerson
Minister for Multicultural Affairs
of Queensland
In office
26 March 2009 – 26 March 2012
Premier Anna Bligh
Preceded by Lindy Nelson-Carr
Succeeded by Jack Dempsey
Minister for Disabilites
of Queensland
In office
26 March 2009 – 21 February 2011
Premier Anna Bligh
Succeeded by Curtis Pitt
Member of the Queensland Parliament
for Inala
Incumbent
Assumed office
9 September 2006
Preceded by Henry Palaszczuk
Personal details
Born (1969-07-25) 25 July 1969 (age 45)
Durack, Queensland
Political party Australian Labor Party
Alma mater University of Queensland
(B.A.; LL.B.)
London School of Economics (M.A.)
Profession Lawyer

Annastacia Palaszczuk /ˈpæl.ə.ʃ/ (born 25 July 1969) is an Australian politician and Leader of the Opposition in Queensland. She has been an Australian Labor Party member of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland since September 2006, representing the electorate of Inala. She held various ministerial portfolios in the ministry of Anna Bligh. Following Labor's defeat in the 2012 Queensland election, Palaszczuk succeeded Bligh as leader of the Queensland ALP.

Early life[edit]

Palaszczuk was raised in the Brisbane suburb of Durack, the daughter of veteran state Labor MP Henry Palaszczuk. Her family is of Polish descent. She has degrees in Arts and Laws from the University of Queensland, and also a Masters of Arts from the London School of Economics.

Political career[edit]

She 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. She later decided to have a career in the law, and was studying for admission as a solicitor when her father announced his intention to retire at the 2006 election. In the wake of her father's retirement, Palaszczuk contested and won Labor preselection for her father's seat of Inala in south-eastern Brisbane, the safest Labor seat in Queensland, and was elected with a margin of more than 30%.

On 9 October 2008, she 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 following the March 2009 election. In February 2011, she was promoted to Minister for Transport and Multicultural Affairs.[1]

Leader of the Opposition[edit]

At the 2012 election, the Bligh government was overwhelmingly defeated by Campbell Newman's Liberal National Party, losing 44 seats. Palaszczuk suffered a 14-point swing in Inala, but retained her seat with 47 per cent of the primary vote and an estimated 57 per cent of the two-party vote.[2]

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.[3] Curtis Pitt initially said he would stand, but withdrew.[4] This left Palaszczuk to take the leadership unopposed at a meeting of the Labor Caucus on 28 March in Ipswich.[5] Bligh did not attend the meeting. Tim Mulherin was elected Deputy Leader, also unopposed.[6]

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 will have the full rights and resources entitled to the Official Opposition).[7] 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."[4] 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 (sic)."[8]

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."[5] Palaszckuk 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.[6]

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 supports the move as well.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Lindy Nelson-Carr
Minister for Disability Services
2009–2011
Succeeded by
Curtis Pitt
Minister for Multicultural Affairs
2009–2012
Succeeded by
Jack Dempsey
Preceded by
Rachel Nolan
Minister for Transport
2011–2012
Succeeded by
Scott Emerson
Preceded by
Jeff Seeney
Leader of the Opposition in Queensland
2012–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Anna Bligh
Leader of the Labor Party in Queensland
2012–present
Incumbent
Parliament of Queensland
Preceded by
Henry Palaszczuk
Member for Inala
2006–present
Incumbent