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Hugs, smiles then straight back to business for our third-term Premier

Decision 2020

After securing a mandate from Queensland voters, Annastacia Palaszczuk is ready to get back to business. The year is far from over.

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Labor has comfortably achieved majority government at the state election, picking up seats despite a Greens surge in Brisbane and heading off any state-wide swing to the Liberal National Party. This puts Palaszczuk in control for even longer with the state’s first four-year term.

After a bruising campaign, in which Labor warned Queensland the LNP could not be trusted and would cut thousands of jobs, the only change that came on election night cemented most Labor incumbents in their seats. Labor could end up with 52 seats in a 93-seat parliament as the LNP slips back to 34.

While former deputy premier Jackie Trad lost her seat of South Brisbane to the Greens, that also gives Palaszczuk the opportunity to renew the Cabinet ranks again after the retirement of Kate Jones and Anthony Lynham. Once seats are declared, that will be the first order of business for the third term premier.

Health Minister Steven Miles will remain deputy leader, and Cameron Dick will remain treasurer to hand down a budget before Christmas, but key infrastructure and resources portfolios are up for grabs. The factions may ultimately decide the numbers in Cabinet but after a presidential-style campaign Palaszczuk will have the authority to shape it in her image.

Palaszczuk, who followed her father into politics, will become the first female party leader to win three elections and surpass Peter Beattie’s period as Labor premier.

Addressing the media this morning, not far from where Labor has promised to duplicate the Centenary Bridge, Palaszczuk said she would stay the course on COVID-19 and the government’s economic recovery plan.

Palaszczuk said she was “humbled’ by the support she had received from Queenslanders.

“At the end of the day, it’s about looking after Queenslanders and making sure they’re safe, and that’s exactly what my priorities are,” Palaszczuk said, flanked my newly elected MPs and families.

Tomorrow, Palaszczuk and her senior ministers will meet with key directors-general “to start the hard work and the fast work that needs to be done delivering the budget”

“If that means working right up until Christmas Eve, so be it,” Palaszczuk said.

Palaszczuk thanked Jones, Lynham and Trad “for their service to Queensland and their service to the community”. She expected to speak to Trad this afternoon, conceding she had fallen victim to a “very nasty campaign” in South Brisbane.

Palaszczuk said she had only spoken to Frecklington this morning – they both gave election night speeches without any prior discussion – and had been congratulated by Prime Minister Scott Morrison via text message today.

She declined to name any new Cabinet ministers but said she would not be pressured by the unions.

“We will be getting down to business tomorrow,” Palaszczuk said.

“I’ve already contacted the deputy premier and the treasurer. We will be hitting the ground running tomorrow.”

LNP leader Deb Frecklington, who lost her first election campaign, wants to stay on as leader but has to survive internal recriminations first.

On Saturday night, Frecklington reassured the party faithful “our time will come”.

“We’re going to fight every minute of the next four years to get there,” Frecklington said.

“I’m sorry we didn’t get there.”

LNP member for Broadwater, David Crisafulli, has already said his party must have a “good, long, look at itself”. Some have interpreted his election night questioning of the campaign – around the same time that deputy leader Tim Mander was praising Frecklington’s performance – as a sign the former Mundingburra MP is pushing for leadership change.

With a surge in votes for the Greens in urban areas, and the collapse in support for One Nation in regional areas not necessarily helping the LNP, Labor has also benefitted the most from any preference flows. However, the majority of postal votes have yet to be returned, meaning close seats may not be decided for days.

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