Miles up for challenges if elected Premier

Published 2:00pm 11 December 2023

Miles up for challenges if elected Premier
Words by Jodie Powell

If Murrumba MP and Deputy Premier Steven Miles is elected as Queensland’s 40th premier at Friday’s caucus he’ll face tough battle leading the party to victory at next year’s State election, according to a leading political commentator.

Griffith University Associate Professor of the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Science Paul Williams says Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk’s resignation yesterday takes Labor from certain defeat to a small chance of success.

“It’s only 52 seats to 48 after preferences,” Dr Williams says.

“The LNP needs 16 seats and a six percent swing – they’re currently on five percent.

“Labor might get back, but they would need the Greens’ support.”

Endorsed by Ms Palaszczuk, Mr Miles is tipped to be vying for the top job against Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women Shannon Fentiman, and Treasurer Cameron Dick.

Cabinet reshuffle likely

Dr Williams says if Mr Miles gets the gig, he will face major challenges to claim victory at 2024 election.

“It’s always a problem when long-serving Premiers are replaced at the eleventh hour,” he says.

“It’s a last-ditch back-up as opposed to being the sacrificial lamb, and he may pay a costly price.

“He’ll need someone from the Right, which would most likely be Cameron Dick, which is unusual in this day and age not to have gender diversity.

“And I am sure there will be a cabinet reshuffle and probably quite a sizeable one.”

Dr Williams believes the 41,071 voters who were enrolled in the Murrumba electorate as at November, 2021, will be largely indifferent to having a Premier as their state representative, although holding what is considered a safe seat could be an advantage for Mr Miles.

Mixed views

Miles up for challenges if elected Premier

“I don’t think the electorate is going to say, ‘we’re so proud’,” he says.

“Obviously, some people are impressed that their local MP is a state or national leader.

“Equally, a number of people would resent it because as Premier, he would not be able to do as many local constituent meetings.

“It’s good when Premiers or Opposition leaders are in safe seats.

“(Former Premier) Campbell Newman had to spend half his time in Ashgrove, at the expense of spending time in other parts of the state.”

Dr Williams says the most likely outcome of next year’s election is an LNP or Labor minority, which could pose a challenge for Mr Miles if he becomes Premier.

“If he pulls off a miracle and gets Labor back, if he’s in government with the Greens that could be interesting.

“He’s still cranky that the Greens knocked off his mentor (South Brisbane MP and Deputy Premier) Jackie Trad.”

Local connections

Mr Miles announced yesterday he would be nominating for Leader of the Labor Party and Queensland Premier when the Parliamentary Party meets later this week.

"I commit to my colleagues and to Queenslanders that I will work day and night to realise the enormous potential of our great state and its people," he said in a Facebook post.

"I pledge to deliver better government, I am up for the challenges and in it for Queenslanders."

He attracted 17,433 first preference votes at the October 2020 election and 21,153 - 61.33 percent - after distribution to win the seat from LNP candidate Yvonne Barlow.

He was raised in the Moreton Bay Region, went to Petrie State School and St Paul’s at Bald Hills and lives in Mango Hill.

He has a Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the University of Queensland.

His political career began when he tried and failed to win the Federal seat of Ryan in 2010, but soon became a senior policy advisor to the Queensland Treasurer and Deputy Premier on Trade and Economic Development matters.

Ministerial responsibilities

In February 2015 he entered State Government after winning the seat of Mount Coo-tha, which covered Toowong, Bardon, Auchenflower, Milton, Paddington, Red Hill and Petrie Terrace.

He switched to Murrumba - held by Labor colleague Chris Whiting since 2015 - in the 2017 election.

Mr Whiting moved to the new adjacent electorate of Bancroft and became its first state representative, while Mr Miles kept Murrumba in ALP hands when he was returned in 2020.

He was immediately made Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Reef.

Within months he was moved to Health and Ambulance Services and in 2020 became Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Planning and Local Government.  

He has also been at the forefront of major projects, such as upgrades to the Bruce Highway and building new roads in the Moreton Bay region.

Initial plans for the Gateway Motorway and highway to Anzac Ave at North Lakes were criticised for service roads which would see new houses resumed.

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