• Cheek

Annastacia Palaszczuk is a woman in case you didn’t know

Updated: Feb 25, 2021

Perhaps the most notable thing about the Queensland state election is that there were two women battling it out for the Premier position. Pretty shocking stuff in these modern times. Annastacia Palaszczuk accepted the win with a victory speech around 10:00pm on Saturday night, just a few hours after the Queensland polls closed. One of the first things she noted in the speech was that the race featured two women going head-to-head for the first time in Queensland’s history. She professed to feeling as though the fight was ‘cleaner’ because of this fact. To that I would say: anyone remember Jackie Trad?

But I digress.

Annastacia Palaszczuk recognises Deb Frecklington her victory speech

As soon as the election was won, a landslide of commentators came out to celebrate Palaszczuk for being the longest-serving woman in the top spot, however, what they neglect to report is that she is only the second woman to have the job. Nothing against Anna Bligh, but it’s not particularly hard to be the winner of two. This line of commentary is an odd one and one saved just for women. Palaszczuk is in fact the tenth longest serving Premier in Queensland’s history, and, if she makes it to the end of this term (you never know with Aussie politics), will fly up to the fourth or fifth spot. That’s including men (pause for gasp).

I understand why women are compared to other women when they achieve. I get why it’s important that we watched an election with two women at the helm. I don’t think it’s not worth noting, I just don’t think it’s the most important thing to note. Annastacia Palaszczuk is more than just a woman in politics. She was responsible for building a Labor government after Campbell Newman (a man, in case anyone is wondering) absolutely decimated the LNP’s reputation in a single term.

I’ve been really late to get on the Fleabag train, but, coincidentally, today I watched the episode where Kristin Scott Thomas guest stars. Her character wins a ‘women in business’ award, only to later divulge that she feels such awards are “infantilising bollocks” (she’s British), and “a subsection of success.” I can’t say I’ve ever had these thoughts on my own, but I do think there’s something to them. And when I heard it, I thought of Annastacia Palaszczuk’s success. She’s not the Female Premier of Queensland, she is the Premier of Queensland. Just like the other 37 men who have held the title.

I loved that Palaszczuk pointed out that there were two women leading major parties in this election at the beginning of her victory speech. I think it’s important for women in positions of power to recognise and bring attention to this. I would also like to note that Deb Frecklington of the LNP did no such thing in her concession speech. I don’t think we should skate by the issue completely, because it is important. Queensland only had its first woman Premier a few years ago, and this year we had a choice between two. It is significant. But labelling Palaszczuk as the longest serving woman doesn’t do us any favours.

The most interesting thing about Annastacia Palaszczuk is not that she’s a woman.