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New leaders emerge after Palaszczuk exit

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Who replaces Palaszczuk? Senior Queensland Government ministers are preparing a leadership bid following the longtime premier's retirement.
Who replaces Palaszczuk?

Queensland will have a new Premier by the end of the week after Annastacia Palaszczuk announced her resignation on Sunday.

After nearly nine years in the role, Palaszczuk’s last day as Premier will be on Friday – when Labor members will vote on a new leader.

The outgoing Premier has endorsed Deputy Premier Steven Miles as her successor, but other contenders have also raised their hands to lead the state.

Premier Palaszczuk

Palaszczuk became Premier after leading the Labor Party to a shock victory in the 2015 election. Labor won 44 seats at the election, after going to the polls with just nine. Labor’s popularity continued to increase at elections in 2017 and 2020.

Palaszczuk led Queensland during the COVID-19 pandemic, and played a key role in securing Brisbane as the host of the 2032 Olympic Games. She is Australia’s longest-serving female premier.

Controversies

In the lead-up to her resignation, Palaszczuk faced criticism over her handling of rising youth crime rates.

In August, the Queensland Government passed a law that contradicted the state’s Human Rights Act – by allowing children to be kept in police watchhouses, instead of being transferred to youth detention.

She’s also faced criticism over Queensland’s health system, housing shortage and integrity in government.

Palaszczuk’s resignation

During Sunday’s press conference, Palaszczuk said she began considering retirement earlier this year and made up her mind after last week’s National Cabinet, which she said was filled with “new faces”.

Palaszczuk said: “When I led this party from an opposition of just seven members, I said the first election would be like climbing Mount Everest. I went on to climb that mountain twice more. I don’t need to do it again.”

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said the Premier’s service “deserves acknowledgement and respect”.

Who replaces Palaszczuk?

All Labor members of Queensland Parliament will meet on Friday to choose a new Premier.

Palaszczuk said scheduling the meeting for Friday would give Labor members time to make a decision.

Two senior ministers have formally flagged their interest in replacing Palaszczuk.

Steven Miles has been Deputy Premier since 2020. He was Health Minister during the pandemic. Palaszczuk has endorsed him as her successor.

Shannon Fentiman has been Health Minister since May. She’s previously served as Attorney-General and Minister for Women.

When’s the next election?

Palaszczuk’s resignation comes less than a year from the next Queensland election in October 2024.

The Labor Government is facing a more difficult path to victory than it has in recent years.

The Labor Party currently holds 52 of the 93 seats in the state’s one house of Parliament. Palaszczuk’s successor will be tasked with ensuring Labor can win a fourth successive term in Government.

Inala by-election

Palaszczuk’s resignation from politics will also trigger a by-election in her seat of Inala — a safe Labor seat in southwestern suburban Brisbane.

Inala has been held by Palaszczuk since 2006. She took over the seat from her father, who was retiring after over 20 years in Queensland Parliament.

Palaszczuk said she has “no job” lined up for after her retirement, but believes she will remain involved in the promotion of Queensland “in some… capacity”.

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