With Labor tipped to form government, here are 10 things you may not know about the Labor leader and probable new Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk.
If we’re being honest, of course, there’s a good chance you don’t know anything about Palaszczuk — beyond the fact that she just pulled off one of the most remarkable political turnarounds of all time.
So who is the woman behind the swing, really?
- Palaszczuk was raised in Durack and is the daughter of veteran state Labor MP Henry Palaszczuk. Her mother, Lorelle, came from German settlers, while her father’s family were Polish migrants who came to Australia after World War II.
- Her first job was selling jewellery at Inala Plaza shopping centre.
- Palaszczuk has an Arts/Law degree from the University of Queensland as well as a Master of Arts from the London School of Economics, and a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from Australian National University.
- Palaszczuk became Queensland Young Labor President while at university. In 1989, she actively campaigned to keep community radio station 4ZZZ on campus, but she was unsuccessful — the station was booted off campus by the Young Nationals in the student union and never returned.
- In 1992 she went to the US on a political study tour to follow Bill Clinton’s election campaign.
- Before becoming an MP, 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.
- Palaszczuk was elected to represent Inala in 2006 after her father stepped down. That means Inala has been represented by a Palaszczuk ever since the electoral district was created in 1992 — that’s 23 years.
- Annastacia quickly rose through the ranks, from a Parliamentary Secretary (to the Minister for Main Roads and Local Government) in 2008 to Minister for Disability Services and Multicultural Affairs in 2009. When Anna Bligh suffered one of the worst electoral defeats in Australian history in 2012, Palaszczuk was left as one of seven Labor MPs in Queensland’s 89-seat parliament. She was elected unopposed to lead the decimated opposition (Curtis Pitt initially said he would run, but thought better of it). Her caucus was so small that everyone had a shadow portfolio.
- Palaszczuk has been married twice, firstly to journalist and author George Megalogenis in the 1990s, and then to Senator Joe Ludwig’s former Chief of Staff, Simon Every, from 2004 to 2009.
- She has no children, and suffers from endometriosis (a condition that affects the reproductive organs). She has spoken openly about the heartbreak of losing a baby at 11 weeks and her unsuccessful four-year struggle to conceive through IVF. She is, however, a doting auntie, taking her niece to ballet practice and regularly inviting her nieces and nephews over for swims.
Assuming Labor is able to form government, do you think Annastacia Palaszczuk will be a good Premier? Let us know in the comments below!