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Miles of smiles: Factional deal secures Qld leadership

Steven Miles seals deal to be Queensland's next premier

A late-night deal between union and factional heavyweights has ensured Queensland’s Deputy Premier Steven Miles will ascend to the top job when Annastacia Palaszczuk exits as premier on Friday.

A bid by Health Minister Shannon Fentiman to take over as premier last less than a day, with the Fentiman conceding on Tuesday that her Left faction colleague had the numbers to become Labor leader.

“As a result, I will not be standing as a candidate for the Labor leadership when caucus meets on Friday,” she said.

“I want to congratulate Steven and offer my support in the work ahead. Steven is a long-standing friend, and he will have my full support as premier of Queensland.”

Under the factional deal, Treasurer Cameron Dick, of the Right faction, will become deputy premier.

Party heavyweights were keen to avoid a drawn out leadership stoush given the state government’s perilous political position less that a year out from an election.

Miles, whose nervy demeanour at media conferences has earned him the nickname “Giggles”, was endorsed by the outgoing premier in an emotional final press conference on Sunday.

Palaszczuk, a three-term leader, was the final COVID-era state leader in Australia.

She will formally tender her resignation on Friday, with the Queensland Labor caucus to gather and endorse her replacement on the same day.

Miles faced the media on Tuesday with Treasurer Dick by his side.

“Yesterday I asked Cameron Dick to join me as my deputy in a leadership team that we will take to the Labour Party caucus on Friday,” Miles said.

“I’m grateful that he is supporting me. We have been friends for a long time.

“We share our vision for Queensland, one that government’s job is to build for the future.”

Dick will remain as treasurer, juggling his new deputy role.

Miles said he had spoken on Tuesday morning with Fentiman who will retain her health minister job.

He flagged cabinet changes after Friday’s caucus meeting but would not be drawn on whether Transport Minister Mark Bailey would remain in his role.

Miles was considered the frontrunner with the support of the biggest group in Labor’s dominant left faction, the United Workers Union (UWU).

Dick, from Labor’s right faction that is aligned to the Australian Workers’ Union, had been linked to a leadership tilt but never officially nominated himself.

It is believed Dick’s AWU faction agreed to get behind Mr Miles after brokering a deal with the deputy premier’s UWU contingent during late night talks.

That effectively sunk Fentiman’s bid.

“Now is the time for unity and Labor’s focus must turn to delivering for Queenslanders and retaining government at next year’s election,” she said.

“I will continue working tirelessly to ensure the return of a Labor government for Queensland.”

Miles is set to be sworn in as Queensland’s 40th premier.

-with AAP

This story first appeared in InQueensland and is republished here with permission.

Topics: Queensland
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