10 Dec 2023

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk resigns in shock announcement

5:53 pm on 10 December 2023
Labor Leader, Annastacia Palaszczuk.

File photo: Annastacia Palaszczuk in 2015. Photo: AAP

By Melanie Vujkovic, ABC

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced she is stepping down as leader and leaving politics for good.

In a shock announcement during what was meant to be a press conference about Cyclone Jasper on Sunday, an emotional Palaszczuk said it was the "right time" to move on.

"I will finish at the end of this week as premier and the next premier of Queensland is for caucus to decide on Friday," she said.

"And soon, the people of Queensland will have their say.

"But now is the time for me to find out what else life has to offer."

Palaszczuk said it had been "a great honour to be the leader of this party".

"But I've done nearly nine years as premier, three years before that as leader of the opposition."

Come the end of the month, she will also finish as member for Inala.

Approval ratings decline sharply

Palaszczuk said she had been thinking about retirement since holidaying in Italy with her partner in August, but it follows a politically damaging few months.

In September, she fought off chatter of internal party dissatisfaction and leadership rumblings, and before that was faced with a bruising sitting week, which started with hundreds of people marching on Queensland Parliament in support of victims of crime.

Political scientist Paul Williams said the Queensland premier's approval ratings had declined sharply.

"The premier's personal approval has declined, so it's very much a case of the Labor Party has to remove [the] premier who no longer has the public's favour," Williams said.

In a one-on-one interview with the ABC in October, Palaszczuk said she had learnt from that time and conceded she and her government needed to listen more.

"It was a challenging time, yes I do admit that," she said.

"We could have done things differently and I absolutely have learnt from that."

However, she refuted any suggestions she was ready to leave the role, and said she was steadfast in leading her government to next year's state election.

Politicians react to resignation

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese labelled Palaszczuk a "Labor hero".

"From the moment she made history with her extraordinary 2015 election victory, Annastacia Palaszczuk has served Queensland with fierce pride in her state and a powerful determination to deliver for people," he wrote on the platform.

"Annastacia's leadership brought Queensland Labor back from the political brink and on so many occasions since then her government has put Queensland in a position of national leadership."

He said Palaszczuk would leave office "rightly proud of all she has achieved and - as ever - thinking of what is best for Queensland and its future".

Opposition leader David Crisafulli said that regardless of politics, "nine years as premier deserves acknowledgement and respect".

"I want to thank Annastacia Palaszczuk for her service and wish her well in her retirement."

- This story was first published by the ABC.

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