What Annastacia really thinks of Jackie Trad
Annastacia Palaszczuk has lamented the loss of her former deputy Jackie Trad while insisting her own fate remained in the hands of Queenslanders because she would not retire before the next election.
In one of her most revealing interviews, Ms Palaszczuk admitted she never coveted the Premier's role when first elected, doesn't seek advice from any of her predecessors and won't talk politics with her father and former minister Henry to avoid family arguments.
The comments come six years to the day since Ms Palaszczuk was sworn in as Queensland's 39th premier following her dramatic election victory over the first-term Newman government.
Now in her third term with an increased majority and the prospect of becoming Labor's second longest serving premier, the 51-year-old Ms Palaszczuk insisted she'd never contemplated her post-politics life.
"I honestly haven't turned my mind to it," she told The Sunday Mail. "I have got the best job in Queensland. I'm focused, I am 100 per cent focused on my job."
However, she admitted the inability to spend time with family and friends was personally taxing, which hit home last year after the death of her grandmother. "So I am going to make a bit more time for that," she said.
"I probably regret that I didn't spend as much time with my grandmother
"That was hard. It's been hard for everybody."
After being branded an "accidental premier" throughout her tenure, Ms Palaszczuk admitted other people suggested she could be a future Labor leader before she'd ever contemplated it herself.
The first was an Indigenous elder in her Inala electorate during a PCYC event shortly after she entered parliament in 2006. "Afterwards I said 'oh look Uncle Albert that's a bit … you know'," she said. "But it's interesting that others maybe thought that before I did, does that make sense?"
Ms Palaszczuk was also dogged for two terms by claims the person who really ran the government and was gunning to replace her at the earliest opportunity was her former deputy, Jackie Trad.
Yet she insisted she keenly feels the loss of Ms Trad, who lost to the Greens at last year's election after a tumultuous term dominated by her property purchase integrity crisis. "Look, honestly, it's sad to see Jackie exit politics," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"But she did a good job and she delivered very good budgets.
"She honestly had her heart in the right place in terms of what she was in politics to achieve."
Ms Palaszczuk said Queensland's successful COVID response was the high point of her premiership.
But it was small funding initiatives that made a big difference to people's lives which made her most proud.
"I think about how we put $1m into the cystic fibrosis centre and I went and met people there and it has transformed their life," she said.
"One lady said to me 'I'm 50, I shouldn't be here and this service and this centre means that I can get a better quality of life and to live longer'."
Regrets? She initially insisted she didn't have any.
"I wouldn't do anything differently because everything is part of that learning," she said.
However, she admitted her threat to defund Katter's Australian Party, which earnt her the ignominy of being the first premier sanctioned by the Parliament for contempt, was an error.
"Going back on that, I think I could have said things better, I could have expressed myself better," she said. If she could travel back in time, she'd also have some advice for herself as a first-term premier leading a minority government. "As I reflect on that, I think maybe I could have said 'be a bit bolder and braver earlier'," she said.
The late Wayne Goss is the former Queensland premier she admires the most.
But she credits Peter Beattie for reshaping the state and respects the way Anna Bligh ran an inclusive government. "(Beattie) really took the state forward, with a huge boom in the resources, and a lot of infrastructure happened," she said.
"And Anna Bligh gave me my start as a minister and she was the first female premier. She had a completely different style to Peter."
Yet she never seeks advice from either of them, or anyone outside the current political arena, preferring to discussions within the current Cabinet."I am my own person," she said.
"Our Cabinet works very well in that respect, it's very inclusive, very good discussions."
Not even her father Henry Palaszczuk, the primary industries minister in the Beattie government, gets a look in, she insisted.
"Not really, no. We'd probably have an argument," she said.
"But Mum and Dad probably come over once a fortnight or we go down … and have a schnitzel.
"I have got a very, very strong family network so I am very lucky with that."
Economic recovery looms large on her agenda with Ms Palaszczuk insisting a firing construction sector, diversifying resources industry and new jobs in manufacturing would be the backbone of Queensland's future.
"All that is coming online now," she said. "So this state is really set up for the future, our best days are definitely ahead of us."
And while lamenting the divisive nature of modern politics and the dearth of informed policy debates, Ms Palaszczuk insisted she had no exit strategy.
"I am here as long as the people of Queensland want me," she said.
Originally published as What Annastacia really thinks of Jackie Trad