Queensland’s Deputy Premier has shot down suggestions of a leadership challenge against Annastacia Palaszczuk amid waning popularity for a Labor government.
Steven Miles was quick to pour cold water on the speculation that had been whipped up amid controversial youth justice laws and falling opinion polls.
“I understand they’ll always be chatter, they’ll always be rumours and gossip,” he told reporters on Sunday.
“What I know is a great strength of our government has been our stability and our unity, and the leadership that Annastacia has provided and I intend to continue that unity and stability.”
He went on to dismiss the government’s waning popularity in the polls, arguing that Labor had won three elections under Ms Palaszczuk’s leadership.
However, Mr Miles did not rule out a future attempt at the top job should the Premier step down, nor would he directly answer reporters questions about whether Ms Palaszczuk would “definitely” lead Labor at the next state election.
The Queensland government has faced fierce criticism from the opposition, Greens and Bob Katter’s Australian Party over its new laws allowing children to be held in police watch houses.
The Greens have described it as “a blight on democracy” and Liberal Leader David Crisafulli condemned the government as “trashing the parliament.
“We witnessed perhaps the darkest 24 hours in Queensland parliament in a long, long time,” Mr Crisafulli told reporters on Friday.
“Queenslanders weren’t listened to, and the entire parliamentary process was used as a doormat by the state government.”
Ms Palaszczuk personally has received criticism over the laws for travelling to Europe for a two-week holiday just after the controversial laws were brought into place.
Mr Miles shot down that criticism, arguing the Premier is “entitled” to a holiday.
“(Premiers) go ahead with those plans regardless of what might have happened in the week of parliament. I don’t think a lot of people take too much notice of that,” he said.