Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller is “working hard”, just ask acting Premier Jackie Trad. Photo: Chris HydeSeven times asked, seven times deflected.
“Working hard” has become the acceptable answer to any question a minister is asked about a colleague, with acting Premier Jackie Trad falling back on Annastacia Palaszczuk’s answer from July 13 in relation to beleaguered Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller.
At that time it was in regards to whether Ms Palaszczuk believed Ms Miller was doing a good job. “She is working very hard,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
On Wednesday, when Ms Trad was asked if she had confidence in Ms Miller despite her referral to the Ethics Committee, it was her turn to use the phrase.
“In relation to Jo-Ann Miller, everybody knows that the issues that have been canvassed of the past day and a half are now before the Ethics Committee as they should be,” she said.
“I am a very good colleague of the Police Minister, Jo-Ann Miller, and can I say the Ethics Committee needs to get on with its job without interference, without speculation, without pre-empting all of their deliberations.
“I’m very happy to say that Jo-Ann Miller is working very hard preparing for Estimates and I work closely with Jo-Ann Miller as I do with every single member of the Palaszczuk Labor Cabinet.”
To say anything else would be to interfere with the Ethics Committee investigation, Ms Trad added.
“The Premier of this state has articulated her position in relation to Jo-Ann Miller and this, quite frankly, is not going to be a circus where everybody standing up is going to comment on whether or not they have confidence in the Police Minister,” she said.
“The Police Minister is entitled to have her matter dealt with by the Ethics Committee in a way which is free from interference, quite frankly.
“I do think it interferes, because obviously this is the basis of the questioning about the matters that are currently before the Ethics Committee.
“Jo-Ann is working hard and I know that she’ll do a great job tomorrow at the Ethics Committee, ah, at the Estimates Committee. We should just let the Ethics Committee get on with its job.”
But that won’t stop the Opposition from asking about it every day during the estimates hearings, despite successive chairs ruling the questions, which are meant to focus on how the government is spending taxpayer money, continually out of order.
Shadow transport spokesman Scott Emerson said he believed that is what Queenslanders wanted.
“We are determined to make sure we keep the pressure on this government, over these issues of integrity, openness and accountability,” he said.
“This is a scandal of this government that that Police Minister remains in the job and we will continue to question the government on why it is continuing to protect Jo-Ann Miller rather than do the right thing by Queenslanders and sack Jo-Ann Miller.
“I think Queenslanders want us to keep questioning this government over this issue. They understand that the Police Minister should have no integrity issues about her.”
But perhaps the message was slowly seeping in. Tim Nicholls, after complimenting Ms Trad on her new haircut, stated he had intended to ask about Ms Miller, but believed he already knew what the Chair’s answer would be, when he took the lead questioning role at the estimates hearing less than an hour later.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.