Annastacia Palaszczuk deserves to wear the "accidental premier" moniker no longer.

She has become a three-time election winner and success like that doesn't happen by chance.

That's better than Campbell Newman, better than Anna Bligh, better than Rob Borbidge and better than Wayne Goss if you don't include the 1995 election when Labor eventually lost after the re-run of the Mundingburra contest.

It's still one win shy of Peter Beattie's four victories however.

And although Palaszczuk will eclipse his time served as Queensland premier during this four-year term, it can't be forgotten that Beattie retired at the top of his game and probably would have kept on winning.

Still, it's an extraordinary record for a Labor leader who was considered a seat warmer after the Newman 2012 rout that left the party with just seven seats.

Annastacia Palaszczuk is no longer an ‘accidental premier’. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Annastacia Palaszczuk is no longer an ‘accidental premier’. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

The few left after that wreckage gathered at Ipswich hall on March 28 2012 and Palaszczuk accepted what was considered a poison chalice.

For many in the party, her ascension just illustrated Labor's titanic decline.

LABOR STUNS LNP WITH MASSIVE SWING

2020 QLD state election results 

 

Major parties
  • LNP 0
  • ALP 0
Others
  • ONP 0
  • UAP 0
  • KAP 0
  • OTH 0
  • GRN 0
Called seats

Yet eight and a half years on, Palaszczuk keeps chalking up the records.

She's the most successful female party leader in Australia's history.

Her detractors will point to dumb luck.

And boy has there been plenty of it.

Peter Beattie retired at the top of his game but Palaszczuk’s success is no accident (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi)
Peter Beattie retired at the top of his game but Palaszczuk’s success is no accident (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi)

The lack of a better alternative than Palaszczuk in 2012, Newman's self-destruction and Clive Palmer's spoiler roll in 2015, Tim Nicholls and the resurrection of One Nation in 2017 and now Deb Frecklington and a fortuitously timed global pandemic in 2020.

If they reckoned Beattie could put his hand down an S-bend and pull out a gold Rolex every time, it appears Palaszczuk could get two.

But anyone who doesn't recognise Palaszczuk's ability to turn providence into success hasn't been paying attention.

It'd be disingenuous, however, not to mention some of the less-than admirable activity that contributed to this victory.

The moribund financial gerrymander imposed on the LNP through the ban on property developer donations, the election spending cap tailored to nobble Palmer, the wall-to-wall taxpayer-funded advertising of Labor's economic plan and a raft of COVID-19 decisions that smacked of politicking in a pandemic.

Still, such electoral swindles have been tried and failed before yet Palaszczuk was able to get away with it.

But critically, it was her leadership through the COVID crisis that convinced Queenslanders that Palaszczuk deserved another chance after she appeared a spent political force at the beginning of 2020.

Accidents happen. But three times is a lot more than luck.

 

 

Originally published as Palaszczuk no longer 'accidental premier'


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