‘I’m backing Deb’: How LNP leader’s family support mum
Amid the demanding travel, meetings, endless phone calls and events, Deb Frecklington's family tries to separate the politics when they're home to "just be a normal household".
In an interview with The Sunday Mail one week out from the state election, the Opposition Leader's husband Jason Frecklington and three daughters have conceded it was a challenge getting used to their mum always travelling.
Between her electorate in Nanango which she claimed in 2012, to parliament in Brisbane and then around the state, the family slowly adapted to Deb being away.
But while traditional Sunday barbecue lunches and entertaining guests at home doesn't happen as frequently anymore, Jason and daughters Isabella, Elke and Lucy journey around the electorate when they can.
"In terms of support, we do whatever we can," he said. "Even now, a lot of weekends are taken up covering the electorate. It's one of the things, when you've got a rural electorate, that's two hours drive from one end to the other, you spend a lot of time so that's one way we can connect and spend time together and another way we can help."
And that support includes donning his blue "I'm backing Deb" shirt when he's out walking in Brisbane. "We certainly try and help there," Jason said.
"I think it's a good image too if we're all around as a family."
Isabella, 22, who is studying agriculture at university, said the family had to follow politics because "it's our life now", but when they're at home as a family they "prefer to just be a normal household".
Jason, who works in Indigenous and land holder relations, agreed, saying the family separated it but that came with any job.
"No matter what job you have if you come home, no matter what, you don't want to be talking work," he said. "Yes we're aware of it, yes we watch the news, all that sort of stuff, but you've got to draw a line in the sand that somewhat separates work from family."
Asked what had been one of the hardest things for Deb since becoming a politician, Jason referred to a boycott orchestrated by the Electrical Trades Union's in 2012 on the family's fledgling Gloria Jeans business. Turnover dropped 20 per cent almost overnight and Jason had to take on a second job so they wouldn't have to sack any staff.
Deb's family says it would be easier to work out how many hours she didn't work, but it was her work ethic and dedication to community which they say makes her deserving of becoming the next premier of Queensland.
"It comes down to, if you want to really get involved and really represent your community that you're voted for, you have to put in the hours," Jason said.
"I think the first phone meetings are usually just before 6am and who knows when the last one is.
"She's very passionate about what she does and has always represented the community in some form prior to that as well."
The family agreed that Deb's passion, life experience and compassion were among reasons why she deserved to be premier.
"She's actually been out there, we've run small businesses," Jason said. "She's just got the drive and passion for it.
"You've got that and the ability to relate to people and have that commonsense approach. I think she's the full package when it comes to that."
The family agreed Deb's skin "would be a lot thicker now" and that she still had the same drive as when she first started her political career.
"There's nothing changed there," Jason said, but said she had gained more wisdom over the past eight years.
The family, who'll be out helping on pre-poll this weekend ahead of next weekend's vote, conceded political life was like a "fish pond". But Isabella said any criticism didn't phase them because, "we're happy with who we are as a family".