Jo-Ann Miller

Former police minister and Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller has been going through a tough time since she was dumped from Queensland cabinet after a series of controversies last year that culminated in a scathing report by the powerful Ethics Committee. Is the Queensland Left warlord going to be left out in the cold come preselection time?

The Ethics Committee report detailed that Miller had not properly disposed of sensitive documents after leaving that committee, and forced Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s hand.

The Premier hinted in her statement that she might keep the formerly influential Left faction member on in another capacity in cabinet to avoid rancour, but Miller resigned in Parliament not long after.

There has been significant tension within the Queensland Left between Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Jo-Ann Miller for years as they both jostled to lead that powerful faction. It appears the AMWU-linked Deputy Premier got the win on this count.

There are whispers still swirling around town that there could be some action in the Bundamba preselection, and nominations for candidates for the next state election are just around the corner.

United Voice is said to be supporting the “Anyone-But-Miller” ticket. For whatever reason, there is no love lost there.

The Ipswich-born MP hasn’t done herself any favours by seeming to interrogate members of her own government in budget estimates recently, leaving some of them flabbergasted and on the hop.

It’s also safe to say the AMWU will be open to looking at other candidates given their strong backing of Trad’s side in the years-long tension.

It’s said a section of the CFMEU still supports Miller, a miner’s daughter, but it’s the smaller division of the union, the Mining and Energy Division. This might not be enough if she needs to go into battle to save her job.

The CFMEU Construction and General Division back high-profile member Nick Thompson, who has been steadily working his way through the ranks.

He’s an Ipswich-based social worker who sits on both the Queensland Left executive and the peak body of Queensland Labor, the administrative committee.

Given that CFMEU Construction and General Division have a large majority on the the state executive of the CFMEU I don’t imagine the Mining and Energy Division would go to the wall to defend Miller.

If these rumours are true it appears Miller is on a hiding to nothing. United Voice, the AMWU and the CFMEU carry the Left executive majority easily, and local rank-and-file Left members will have no influence on the outcome.

It still isn’t known whether Thompson will be running, but with the support of these three unions I can’t imagine him turning down the opportunity of a guaranteed Left nomination for a very safe Labor seat.

The only question now is: can Miller survive once again? Does she go independent and hope for a personal vote, or does she move on?

*Ben Chiefly is a Labor activist and Crikey’s man in the room. Know something he should know? Get in touch or drop Crikey a line (you can stay anonymous)

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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