Kate Jones
Kate Jones

What Kate might do next – and who’ll replace her

She's long been touted as a future premier, but retiring senior minister Kate Jones says she couldn't bear putting her children through the nastiness of the state's top job.

The departing Tourism and State Development Minister shocked colleagues and the public when she announced her bombshell decision on Thursday on the last parliament sitting day, just a day after informing Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.The 41-year-old mother of two told

The Courier-Mail that while it was "really flattering that people have said that I should be premier", she had concluded that was never going to be her future.

"I really honestly feel that in my mind I'd already made that decision because I think we all remember (former premier Peter) Beattie's kids, (former premier Anna) Bligh's kids, I just don't think that's something I want to do to my family," Ms Jones said.

"That's a decision I've made."

The Member for Cooper - who entered politics 15 years ago, became the state's youngest minister at 30 and is still the only minister to have a child in office - said she had been weighing up her future for the past 12 months.

"And for me, in some ways, it's a grieving," she said.

"I love the job, I love doing it, but the more senior you become, you actually see the toll that it takes of people and right now, whatever you think, the Premier is under enormous pressure.

"That life that she has to live for us is not something I want for my children.

 

Kate Jones at her home with new Cooper candidate Jonty Bush. Picture: Peter Wallis
Kate Jones at her home with new Cooper candidate Jonty Bush. Picture: Peter Wallis

 

"Being a senior minister, you really do see the personal toll that political life and public life has on you and your family and I want to see my kids grow up."

Ms Jones said now felt at peace with her decision knowing she could fully support Labor's newly selected candidate for Cooper, former Young Australian of the Year and victim advocate Jonty Bush.

Ms Bush also entered the public spotlight at a young age when she, at age 21, joined with the Queensland Homicide Victim Support Group to campaign for victims' rights following the murders of her father and 19-year-old sister.

Before that, she worked in human resources for small and big business, and has since worked as a domestic violence advocate, and in the public service, including on the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council and as visiting director of the Office of the Public Guardian.

Ms Jones said Ms Bush was someone she felt could survive the increasingly rough and polarised world of politics.

 

"Jonty has seen things in her life that I can't even imagine how you would wake up the next day," she said.

"She's got a strength of character that I actually feel really humbled by."

Ms Bush, 41, who unsuccessfully ran for Labor in the ward of Enoggera in the March Brisbane City Council election, said she never intended a career in politics but now realised "to really make a difference sometimes, you need to be the decision-maker".

"When Jacinta and Dad died, that was a really pivotal moment for me as a person and career-wise," she said.

"I think one of the things that came from that was this absolute understanding that we really have one life and I don't want to leave anything on the table."

Meanwhile, Ms Jones said she had no plans for the future, but was looking forward to new challenges.

"It was a leap of faith," she said.

"I'm obviously really passionate about the tourism industry and major events and sport.

"I'm just going to put it out there and hope for the best."

 

 

 

 

Originally published as What Kate might do next - and who'll replace her


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