Goss was victorious in a landslide over Russell Cooper in the 1989 state election in Queensland and presided over the implementation of many of the reforms of the landmark Fitzgerald Inquiry into police corruption. His election win was seen as the beginning of a new era, with The Courier-Mail declaring "Goss the Boss".
Goss would go on to win a second term, with the same 19-seat majority he won in 1989 over the National Party and the Liberal Party (the two non-Labor parties went out of coalition in 1983, but resumed the coalition after the 1992 election).
The Goss Government introduced social reforms such as decriminalising homosexuality. Goss' Chief of Staff as Premier was former diplomat, Kevin Rudd, now leader of the federal parliamentary wing of the Australian Labor Party and Prime Minister of Australia.
The 1995 election, however, was dominated by the Goss Government's plan to clear sensitive bushland for an alternative to one of south-east Queensland's major roadways. A number of seats lost were in Brisbane's Bayside area, and known as 'The Koala seats' because of the passion stirred up by people's perception that the new road would destroy koala habitat. The Greens Party preferenced against Labor and the electorate reacted to Goss's perceived authoritarian style, dealing Labor a narrow one-seat majority.
Irregularities were alleged in the Townsville seat of Mundingburra, won narrowly by Labor's Ken Davies over the Coalition's Frank Tanti. Following a declaration by the Queensland Supreme court, sitting as a Court of Disputed Returns, a by-election was ordered which was lost by Labor with the seat going to the Coalition, bringing about a hung Parliament with the balance of power held by Gladstone based Independent Liz Cunningham.
Goss returned to the back benches of the Opposition under new Opposition Leader Peter Beattie and assumed something of an "elder statesman" role. However, a diagnosis of a brain tumour (subsequently removed without any problems) forced him to scale back his activities. Despite support from both sides of Parliament - evidenced when the House gave him a standing ovation on his return from surgery - Goss retired from politics. At the time, rumours circulated that then-Federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley had offered him a front-bench position if he ran and won in a Federal election, however no proof has been offered of this suggestion.
Since his retirement from politics, Goss has served as an advisor to accountancy group Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu as well as in various other public roles. Goss is currently Chairman of the Australian firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.
He still lives in Brisbane with his wife, Roisin, and their two children, Caitlin and Ryan.