Miller’s resignation marks end of family’s line of Ipswich Labor MPs
Ms Miller chaired the Coal Workers’ Pneumoconiosis Select Committee from September 2016 to November 2017.
In her retirement letter on Thursday, she said she was the “last of a generation” of Labor parliamentary representatives from the Ipswich area.
“They taught me a lot, and I thank them,” she said. “We will never see their like again in this House.
“I close the door on this era.”
During Ms Miller’s time, Ipswich Labor MPs included Bill Hayden, former treasurer David Hamill, former finance, transport and arts minister Rachel Nolan, former parliamentary whip Don Livingstone, and former sports minister Bob Gibbs.
In her maiden speech on March 15, 2000, she thanked her Labor heartland for her election to state parliament.
“[Former Bundamba MP] Evan Marginson introduced me to the Labor Party when I joined the Dinmore Riverview branch at the age of 13,” she said.
“I was in awe of him and Bill Hayden. Bill Hayden has been a great mentor to me over the years and I thank him for his advice and support, and his unshakeable belief that I could, as a community Labor candidate, win the seat for Labor.”
Early in her career, Ms Miller served on the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee, the Finance and Administration Committee, and the Travelsafe committee.
In 2013, she was one of the first Labor MPs to raise concerns about the closure of the former Barrett adolescent mental health centre, as Labor’s acting health spokesman.
Only last week, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk opened a replacement mental health facility for the Barrett centre at the Prince Charles Hospital.
Ms Miller’s parliamentary career was sidetracked in 2015 when she was stood down as police minister after a series of incidents, including becoming embroiled in a dispute with now disgraced Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale over the relocation of a police communications centre.
Ms Miller always believed the decision to keep the ageing Yamanto Police communications centre open was made – against police advice – to placate Pisasale.
Ms Palaszczuk’s spokesman defended the decision in 2017 after Brisbane Times reported decisions from briefing notes gathered during a freedom of information search.
At the time, Ms Miller fell out with fellow Left faction MP Jackie Trad and several other MPs.
She listed standing up for coal miners, the community renewal of Ipswich, the Ipswich Motorway and Centenary Highway upgrades, and her opposition to asset sales as her achievements.
In her resignation letter, she said she stood “shoulder to shoulder” with the “working-class people” of Bundamba.
“I thank the community for standing with me as I paid a personal price for resolutely standing firm, being stitched up by the political and media elite, but never shaken by the rotten political and administrative culture,” she wrote.
Ms Miller won 71.8 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote at the 2017 state election, after winning her seat on primary votes.
Highlights of her parliamentary career include:
- Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrective Services: February 16, 2015 to December 4, 2015.
- Deputy Chair, Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee: July 1, 2014 to March 26, 2015.
- Finance and Administration Committee: May 11, 2016 to November 24, 2017
- Member, Transport and Public Works Committee: February 15, 2018
- Shadow Minister for Health; Natural Resources and Mines: August 5, 2014 to January 30, 2015
- Opposition Whip: April 13, 2012 to January 30, 2015
- Deputy Chair, Health and Community Services Committee: May 18, 2012 to January 6, 2015
- Deputy Chair, Ethics Committee: May 18, 2012 to January 6, 2015
- Shadow Minister for Health; Natural Resources and Mines; Housing: May 10, 2012 to August 5, 2014
- Deputy Chair, Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee: November 28, 2013 to June 30, 2014.
- She also served on estimates, local government and infrastructure, and Travesafe committees.
Tony Moore is a senior reporter at the Brisbane Times