Shannon Fentiman confirms she will join contest to replace Annastacia Palaszczuk as Queensland premier | Queensland politics

Queensland’s health minister, Shannon Fentiman, has confirmed she will nominate to be the state’s next premier, pitching herself as the candidate of “renewal and change”.

Fentiman joins the deputy premier, Steven Miles, as confirmed candidates to be the next state Labor leader after Annastacia Palaszczuk’s sudden resignation on Sunday. The treasurer, Cameron Dick, is also calling colleagues seeking support for the job.

At a press conference on Monday afternoon to announce her candidacy, Fentiman declared: “In order to win the next election, we need a fresh approach.”

While saying she was a long-time friend of Miles, she said she believed she was better placed to win the 2024 election for Labor.

“Steven, as deputy with Annastacia, has a really strong legacy. But I believe we need renewal and we need to change the way we do some things.”

Fentiman signalled that she would seek to be more transparent and inclusive in regards to the Olympics, and have robust cabinet processes.

Above all she vowed to put housing “front and centre” as premier.

Fentiman downplayed the fact Palaszczuk had nominated Miles as her preferred successor.

“Look, it’s no surprise that the premier would nominate her deputy premier – they’ve worked closely together – of course she would. But … the question for MPs this week is who can take us forward and who can win the next election.”

In an earlier press conference about the expected arrival of tropical cyclone Jasper on Wednesday, Miles refused to be drawn on a range of questions about the race for the party leadership.

Miles has taken over the position of chair of the state’s disaster management committee, but is not acting premier.

Appearing alongside emergency services leaders in Brisbane, he repeatedly refused to confirm if he has the numbers to replace Paluszczuk.

“I won’t be spending the day campaigning, I’ll be spending the day focused on ensuring that we are well prepared for this cyclone, ensuring Queenslanders have what they need,” Miles said.

“I think that the best way to demonstrate to all Queenslanders, including our MPs, what kind of leader I will be is by demonstrating that kind of focus on delivering for Queenslanders.”

Cyclone Jasper weakened to a category one storm overnight but is still expected to cause damaging winds and possible flooding in far north Queensland.

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Labor members are keen to ensure the leadership can be thrashed out in caucus, to avoid the prospect of a contested ballot, where party rules dictate a weeks-long process that takes into account union and Labor member votes.

Fentiman refused to rule out taking the fight all the way to the ballot but suggested the decision would be made this week.

“We want to make sure come Friday we have a new leader that can take us forward to the next election,” she said.

“Of course we will respect whatever happens with the different views of MPs. But as I’ve said, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have significant support.”

The energy minister, Mick de Brenni, and minister for agriculture, Mark Furner, attended the same press conference as Miles, held at the Kedron emergency services complex.

Asked if he backed Miles as leader, De Brenni also refused to answer, telling media his priority was the likely loss of power in north Queensland due to the cyclone.

He said when pressed: “You’ve seen extraordinary leadership from the deputy premier already this morning. We’ve got a job to do today.”

Miles also did not answer questions about when he learned the premier would resign.


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