Ex-MP launches stinging attack on Labor colleagues

 

The Palaszczuk Government has been accused of "demonising" the coal mining industry in a stinging attack by one of its longest-serving MPs.

In a stunning broadside against her former colleagues, retired Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller has accused the Queensland Labor Government of betraying its working-class roots and using coal miners as "pawns".

Ms Miller, who represented the safe Labor seat for 20 years before her retirement in February, said the Government had bowed to green group pressure and failed to staunchly support the state's mining sector.

"The Government takes the coal royalties with its right hand and then it pokes coal miners in their eyes with its left hand," she said.

"Without the coal mining industry filling the treasury coffers with billions of dollars, there's no Cross River Rail, there are no major projects … there's no schools and hospitals," she said.

"The coal mining industry should never have been demonised by any Labor government and under this Government they have allowed the coal mining industry to be demonised."

 

Jo-Ann Miller made an emotional farewell address to the Queensland Parliament in February. Picture: Annette Dew
Jo-Ann Miller made an emotional farewell address to the Queensland Parliament in February. Picture: Annette Dew

 

Relations between Queensland Labor and the powerful Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) reached their lowest point last week when the union announced it would withdraw support for the party ahead of the October state election.

Ms Miller, the daughter of a coal miner and prominent CFMEU member, said the union's decision to withhold donations and support was "not unexpected".

"The miners were not being listened to, they were not being respected," she said.

"I'm amazed they stayed as long as they did but good on them for walking away.

"The $500,000 hole in the Labor Party campaign budget is huge and it can't be replaced by branch barbecues."

Ms Miller, 62, resigned in February amid escalating tensions between her, backbenchers and senior leadership figures within the Labor Party.

She backed the CFMEU construction division secretary Michael Ravbar's claim that Labor's left factional leadership "consistently devoted far more energy to internal intrigues and power plays than to driving a policy platform".

Ms Miller said Labor was "definitely up against it" leading into the October 31 poll and questioned whether the party would have enough "boots on the ground and member support" during the campaign.

"It's a classic sign of whether they will win this election," she said.

Ms Miller also left open the possibility of campaigning against her successor in Bundamba, Lance McCallum, and other Labor MPs over their support for "dumps and incinerators" in Ipswich.

Ms Miller said she was retired, but still active in the community and prepared to voice her thoughts about the state government.

"The tiger in the long grass is still there," she said.

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Ex-MP launches stinging attack on Labor colleagues