The real Palaszczuk revealed: ‘It’s been endless work’
Lorelle Palaszczuk remembers back to a day in the 1990s when she received a call telling her not to return to the family house in Jamboree Heights because the police were headed there to clear it.
Her MP husband Henry had tried to help a troubled man who had turned up at Parliament House with gas cylinders strapped to his body and was now being threatened himself.
But the political wife and mother is as pragmatic about the memory as she is about the death threats and personal attacks her daughter Annastacia now cops in the state's top job.
"So, I mean, Henry's had them too … it's part of the job," she told The Sunday Mail in a sit-down interview this week.
Asked if it's been hard to watch the political attacks on her daughter over issues like the border closures, Lorelle said: "I've been around politics for a long time, I know how it works."
Brushing off the term "accidental premier" that was applied to her daughter in her improbable and fantastic election win in 2015, Lorelle said her daughter has always been a leader and thoroughly understands politics, having watched her father work seven days a week as an MP and Beattie Government minister.
"It's been endless work for her but she puts 100 per cent of herself into her job and she's a really caring person," she said of her daughter.
Lorelle said she believes her daughter's approachable person and the fact she listens is part of her charm, and the reason their shopping trips to Indooroopilly are littered with shoppers who want to thank the Premier.
"I was very grateful that she kept the borders closed so that I was still alive and many people have told me that too, they're thanking me for what she's done," Lorelle said.
The Palaszczuks credit their daughter's successful handling of the COVID crisis to her consultative style of leadership, and say she's proved why she should win another four years in power.
Henry recalls the months after Anna Bligh's 2012 drubbing, when the new Labor leader took her rag-tag team of six MPs to Ipswich - to her working class roots - and formulated their secret plan to win back the state.
"And that involved speaking to as many Queenslanders as possible," Henry said. "And she kept doing it and even as Premier she's always found time to do it. But that's the only way to be as a pollie."
Henry said Annastacia has always had a social conscience and would tutor Indigenous schoolchildren in their studies when at university.
He also lets slip how he and his daughter have spent the past 12 to 15 years dressing up as Santa and his helper elf to bring Christmas cheer to residents at the Forest Lake Lodge nursing home.
He said his eldest daughter had inherited her determination from her mother, who finished her secondary education at night school before studying visual arts at university while raising four daughters. "That's the will to achieve," Henry said. "Annastacia's just the same as her mother."
Lorelle gained her degree as her eldest studied law, and graduated at age 43. "They'd have to be on the train (to school) by 7.30am, I remember," Lorelle said of the juggle back then. "I was young then, I could do all that, I was organised.
"I'd wash at night and hang out the washing at night, then when we arrived home I'd say to the girls, quick get the washing off the line and … we'd have Red Rooster dinners, or pizza - it was only when Dad wasn't home.
"So we'd have fast food, just those nights, and then I would sleep for a couple of hours and then I'd do assignments late, sometimes all-nighters."
The pair used to drive together to the University of Queensland, where Lorelle would later see Annastacia wearing her blouses around campus.
"And I would think, oh, I can't wear that again, they'll think I'm wearing my daughter's clothes but she was wearing mine," she said.