LOYAL: Mirani MP and former coal miner Jim Pearce (centre) has thrown his support behind Jo-Ann Miller (right).
LOYAL: Mirani MP and former coal miner Jim Pearce (centre) has thrown his support behind Jo-Ann Miller (right). Chris Lees

Coal miner MP backs the miner’s daughter

LABOR stalwart Jim Pearce has come out in defence of disgraced Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller - the first and only to do so.

The Mirani MP contacted the Queensland Times to claim there was no truth in speculation the CFMEU had withdrawn its support of Ms Miller.

The former coal miner said he had spoken to CFMEU Queensland Mining and Energy president Stephen Smyth at length since the reports first came to light last week.

"We are pretty upset about this," he said.

"This is the first time in 25 years I have felt the need to come out and say something publicly.

"We have certainly not tapped the other guy (Nick Thompson) on the shoulder, but we will not deny he is a member."

Speculation is rife Ms Miller is on the cusp of quitting parliament, which would force a by-election and leave the Palaszczuk Government in perilous position.

The government would not have the numbers in the hung parliament to pass any legislation until the by-election was run and won - meaning Labor would need to retain the seat or risk losing government.

Several Labor sources told the QT last week it was only a matter of time before Ms Miller stood down as her political career was all but over.

They said the CFMEU considers Bundamba to be their seat and have lined up social worker Nick Thompson to take over from Ms Miller.

Ms Miller has snubbed all community events she was invited to, or expected to attend, since her very public fall from grace last year.

Mr Pearce said he had tried to contact Ms Miller - but his calls had also gone unanswered.

He said he had not had the opportunity to speak to her to discuss her political future.

"I have not seen her since parliament broke for the year last month," he said.

"I spoke to her just before Christmas to see how she was holding up.

"She was shattered at what happened in the final week of parliament, but she is a pretty determined girl."

Mr Pearce said he believed Ms Miller had performed well in her duties as police minister before she was unceremoniously sacked.

"Everyone stumbles along the track from time to time, no one is perfect," he said.

"I cannot say what she has been like in her electorate, but I think she did a pretty good job as police minister from what I saw.

"I do not walk away from friends and I never would, and I consider Jo-Ann to be a friend."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk sensationally sacked Ms Miller as police minister after a parliamentary ethics committee said she had acted recklessly and her behaviour was not of the standard expected of a minister.

The referral to the ethics committee came after it was revealed Ms Miller had left confidential documents in a safe which was then given to a LNP MP following Labor's shock election win last year.

Ms Miller resigned from the ministry the following day after her position became untenable.

The Queensland Times has contacted Ms Miller on a number of occasions for comment but she has chosen not to return any of those calls.



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