Annastacia Palaszczuk’s popularity has been in free fall for months, but she remained defiant to continue serving as Queensland premier.

She now says that all changed sitting around the national cabinet table last week.

In a surprise announcement on Sunday, Ms Palaszczuk said the “time was right” to step down after nine years as premier.

She said she had been “thinking about it for a while”.

“I turned my mind to this when I was trying to have a holiday with my partner, and everyone deserves a break,” she said.

“Finally, last week, my mind was made up at national cabinet.

“I was sitting there thinking this is the fourth Prime Minister … and I thought to myself renewal is a good thing.

“When I led this party from an Opposition of seven members, I said that the first election would be like climbing Mount Everest. I went on to climb that mountain twice more, I don’t need to do it again.”

Queenslanders are due to head back to the polls next October, and there were broad expectations that if Ms Palaszczuk didn’t step aside, Labor would lose power almost a decade on from its 2015 surprise win.

Recent polls have put Labor in the worst position since Ms Palaszczuk took the top job, and led to increasing calls within the party and the powerful union bloc for her to step aside before the end of the year to preserve her legacy and keep the party in with a chance.

A poll for Nine Newspapers this week showed Ms Palaszczuk’s personal popularity had fallen further against LNP leader David Crisafulli.

That poll showed Ms Crisafulli now led Ms Palaszczuk as preferred premier 39 per cent to 34 per cent.

Another poll conducted for The Courier Mail in October showed the third-term government was on track for a bruising defeat under Ms Palaszczuk, with 47 per cent of respondents agreeing that the state was “headed in the wrong direction”.

That response was up 20 percentage points from the October 2020 state election.

Ms Palaszczuk enjoyed almost unwavering popularity in the lead-up to that election, helped by her tough border stance and public health measures in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic that ultimately propelled her and Labor to an overwhelming win at the election.

As recently as last week she said she was “very excited” to take on Mr Crisafulli in October.

The silver lining for Labor is that the polls show support for the party remains steady.

On Sunday, Ms Palaszczuk officially endorsed her deputy Steven Miles, and Left factional colleague, as the best person to take over from her.

The premier officially endorsed her deputy Steven Miles as the best candidate to take over from her.

“Steven has been a fantastic, steadfast deputy. He is strong, and what you see is what you get, he is compassionate as well,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“I worked very closely with Steven, particularly during Covid. And I strongly endorse him to be the next premier.”

Ms Palaszczuk said it would be up to the caucus to decide who would be the next Premier on Friday.

Health Minister Shannon Fentiman has gained support in the caucus and among some union leaders in recent months.

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick, from the right faction, is said to have the support of unions.

Unions had reportedly threatened to cut campaign spending ahead of next year’s election if Ms Palaszczuk did not step aside.

Read related topics:Annastacia PalaszczukBrisbane

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By Rahul

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