Traditional or trailblazing?

Comparing the Palaszczuk Labor premiership in Queensland


  • Chris Salisbury University of Queensland



Annastacia Palaszczuk, Queensland Government, Labor Party, Queensland election, COVID-19, premiership


After the Queensland state election of October 2020, many hailed the win for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s government as a landmark victory. Principally, that win made Palaszczuk the most electorally successful female leader in Australian politics. It also cemented her position among the ranks of leading Labor figures in Queensland’s political annals. What, then, might Palaszczuk’s appeal and longevity as Labor leader and Premier signify in terms of her political achievements and record in government? This article offers a brief appraisal of Palaszczuk’s standing and leadership compared with recent Labor predecessors, who similarly won multiple terms in office in this state.

Author Biography

Chris Salisbury, University of Queensland

Chris Salisbury is Political Chronicles Editor for the Australian Journal of Politics and History based at the University of Queensland. His research and writing focus mainly on Queensland’s political history. He regularly comments on Queensland politics to local and national media.


Note 1. Sarah Martin, ‘Australians believe states managing Covid pandemic better than Canberra, study finds’, The Guardian, 19 July 2021,; Samuel Wilson et al, ‘Blunders aside, most Australians believe state premiers have been effective leaders during pandemic’, The Conversation, 16 October 2020,

Note 2. Paul D. Williams, ‘Leaders and political culture: The development of the Queensland premiership, 1859–2009’, Queensland Review 16(1) (2009), 18–23.

Note 3. Chris Salisbury, ‘‘Three-peat Palaszczuk’: Why Queenslanders swung behind Labor in historic election’, The Conversation, 1 November 2020,

Note 4. Dennis Atkins, ‘From ‘tuckshop mum’ to ‘favourite aunt’ and now our most successful politician’, InQueensland, 10 November 2020,

Note 5. John Wanna, ‘Political chronicles: Queensland, July–December 1991’, Australian Journal of Politics and History 38(2) (1992), 233.

Note 6. Bronwyn Stevens and John Wanna (eds), The Goss government: Promise and performance of Labor in Queensland (Melbourne: Macmillan, 1993), 4–5.

Note 7. John Wanna, ‘Political chronicles: Queensland, July–December 1995’, Australian Journal of Politics and History 42(2) (1996), 256–57.

Note 8. Paul D. Williams, ‘Leaders and political culture: the development of the Queensland premiership, 1859–2009’, Queensland Review 16(1) (2009), 25–6. DOI:

Note 9. See Paul D. Williams, ‘The Queensland election of 17 February 2001: Reforging the electoral landscape?’, Australian Journal of Political Science 36(2) (2001), 363–71. DOI:

Note 10. See Rae Wear, ‘“Never-ending story”: Public accountability and public administration reform in Queensland since 1989’, Queensland Review 18(2) (2011), 180–3. DOI:

Note 11. Marty Silk, ‘Palaszczuk to follow Goss in Qld election’, Canberra Times, 30 October 2020,

Note 12. Chris Salisbury, ‘Queensland’s election year shadowed by federal in-fighting, scandals and voter fatigue’, The Conversation, 17 February 2020,

Note 13. Chris Salisbury, ‘Palaszczuk rewarded for Covid effort at Queensland election’, Election Watch, 2 December 2020,

Note 14. Paul D. Williams, ‘Commentary: The grateful state: the 2020 Queensland election’, Queensland Review 28(1) (2021), 56–7. DOI:

Note 15. Ben Smee, ‘Making progress: Is Queensland actually as conservative as we think?’, The Guardian, 18 September 2021,

Note 16. See Mark Ludlow, ‘The queen of fortress Queensland’, Australian Financial Review, 29 September 2021,; Peter McCutcheon, ‘The CFMEU’s attack on Queensland Labor’s left faction reveals deep fault lines in the party’, ABC News, 27 August 2020,

Note 17. Dennis Atkins, ‘The Premier for keeping people happy should know she also needs to keep them interested’, InQueensland, 29 December 2021,

Note 18. Cameron Atfield, ‘The second coming of Tony Fitzgerald’, Brisbane Times, 31 January 2022, 20220131-p59snc.html; Marty Silk, ‘Ex-mandarin says public service integrity probe needs to protect whistleblowers’, InQueensland, 18 February 2022,

Note 19. Dennis Atkins, ‘Palaszczuk is popular but has an opportunity to be bold’, InQueensland, 23 February 2021,



How to Cite

Salisbury, C. (2022). Traditional or trailblazing? Comparing the Palaszczuk Labor premiership in Queensland. Queensland Review, 29(1), 30–35.