The 10 moments that mattered in 2019
QUEENSLAND politics, they say, is never dull.
And that certainly proved to be the case once again throughout 2019, with the Sunshine State stick with its tradition of being a political outlier with a penchant for causing national controversies.
We are, after all, the state that gave the country Kevin Rudd, who was here to help for a time or two.
And way before that there was the Joh for Canberra campaign which didn't really help anyone, except of course the late and great Bob Hawke.
This year it was a little-known bird, a bargain property buy and an audacious Olympics bid that set Queensland apart from the rest of the country and cemented our reputation as hotbed for headlines.
Here are the 10 moments that mattered.
1. Bird in a basin (January 21): It can be picked up at pet stores for as little as $40 but the little known black-throated finch left a lot of people looking like galahs. Revelations that the Queensland Environment Department had ordered an extraordinary review into the finches' presence at the controversial Carmichael coal mine site enraged the regions, divided the country and may have turned the tide of the Federal election.
2. One man banned (February 1): Whitsunday's Jason Costigan performed a Thelma and Louise on his political career during a solo summer roadtrip around Australia. Harassment allegations landed in the inbox of LNP leader Deb Frecklington and Costigan was punted to the party's outbox. He now has his own party of one, North Queensland First, after winning the ballot to be its leader.
3. Bill pays the price (May 13): The worker's champion was left looking a chump after promising to look at tax cuts for high-income earners when quizzed on the campaign trail by a Gladstone Port contractor. The hi-vis blue-collar imbroglio descended into high farce with the worker suspended by the port and then defended by Bill Shorten. Shorten never delivered that tax policy and then got handed a pay cut.
4. Honey puffs and puffery (May 19): After Scott Morrison's miracle victory, Annastacia Palaszczuk and Jackie Trad went to the Paniyiri Festival and declared the Federal election result had nothing to do with them or Adani. It left Labor types choking on their grilled octopus. Two days later, Palaszczuk ditched the honey puffs for a hard hat, declared she'd heeded the message and announced a deadline for Adani.
5. Leave those kids alone (July 17): Brisbane's adult watchhouse now only contained adults, Youth Justice Minister Di Farmer proudly declared. But there was nothing to be proud of in the sorry affair about kids being locked up with adults because of overcrowding in youth detention centres. Four Corners following up a swathe of media reports with revelations about horrific cases. It forced the Government to finally act.
6. Location, location, location (July 18): A fixer-upper became a towering castle of controversy for Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad. The house had to be sold, Trad had her Cross River Rail responsibilities removed and her integrity indiscretions will become a crime. For four months this scandal rolled on from one cluster to another, with implications for Palaszczuk's popularity. The humble home's new owner has it up for rent.
7. From Freckle to formidable (August 30): From backbench speck to premiership frontrunner, it's been a meteoric rise for the MP called "Freckles" by both friends and foe. Dismissed as a lightweight and denounced as Campbell Newman's protégé, Frecklington put her party in front for the first time in almost four years. She's now poised to become the first Queensland conservative to last a term as leader in Opposition for some time.
8. Hunter becomes hunted (September 29): A Friday night horror show at Labor's South Brisbane bunker result in the party's lord mayoral candidate, Rod Harding, getting the right royal shove. In his place came the loud and lanky Patrick Condren, the former political reporter famed for taking the mickey out of powerful politicians. Now Condren's antics with a microphone are occurring on the wrong side of the camera.
9. Sorry, not sorry (October 22): Only the weird world of Queensland politics could throw up a case of a premier forced apologise after denouncing someone for using Nazi lingo. And Annastacia Palaszczuk looked like she wanted to puke when she had to say sorry in State Parliament after threatening to rip resources from the Katter Party. She became the first premier guilty of contempt at the end of this sorry saga.
10. Heroes to zeros (December 9-12): After more false starts than a men's 100 metres, Queensland finally committed to an Olympics bid, kind of. Palaszczuk is hoping her 2032 Games quest could prove political gold but it will only come to fruition if the Commonwealth pays its fair share. Those multi-coloured rings turned to zeros three days later when a budget update revealed the State was getting deeper into debt.