Queensland Premier Steven Miles has copped a wave of criticism after he was seen laughing when asked a question about youth crime during his recent housing address.
Mr Miles, who was sworn in late last year, fronted press at the Queensland Media Club on Tuesday, where he unveiled his government’s long-awaited housing plan.
Following the address, Sky News journalist Adam Walters questioned Mr Miles about his decision not to mention youth crime following the murders of Brisbane mother Emma Lovell in August and Ipswich grandmother Vyleen White last week.
“The people of Ipswich and North Lakes, in Brisbane’s North, would have noted that there wasn’t a single reference to youth crime in your speech,” the journalist asked in a clip shared with news.com.au.
In response the premier pointed out his speech was about housing.
“It was,” the journalist replied. “But given the events of the weekend were so fresh, perhaps there might have been an expectation….”
“I figured I’d get a question” the premier interjected, before the journalist continued his line of questioning.
“The absence of any reference of youth crime in your speech to the Queensland Media Club would have been noted by more than a few,” he continued.
“Come on,” Mr Miles responded as he laughed and looked around the room.
A shortened clip of the premier laughing was later shared online, prompting past and present politicians to call out Mr Miles’ “disrespectful” response.
In a statement to news.com.au, the premier called out the way the clip was framed.
“No one in Queensland, myself included, is laughing at this tragedy and for any news outlet to suggest so is disrespectful,” said Mr Miles.
“A family and a community is grieving. Sensational headlines and misrepresentations have no part to play in Queensland this week.”
Despite the firm denial, criticism for the premier poured in thick and fast.
“It’s not funny Premier,” former Queensland Premier Campbell Newman wrote on X, alongside the clip.
“If you don’t know that it’s time to get this fixed, then get out of the way for someone who will.”
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson also blasted the newly-sworn-in premier, writing: “Another innocent Queenslander is dead. Youth crime in Queensland is out of control, and the Queensland Labor Party is burying its head in the sand. Now, as if to rub salt into the wound, Premier Steven Miles is laughing about it.
“How disgusting and disrespectful to Queensland’s victims of crime.
“If this issue is ever to be taken seriously and steps are to be taken to keep Queenslanders safe, Steven Miles and his entire Labor Government need to be turfed out.”
Speaking about the incident on Sky News, Nationals Senator Matt Canavan labelled the response “bizarre” and claimed the Queensland government is failing to take crime seriously.
“I think he needs to explain himself particularly given he is part of a government that has weakened youth justice laws,” Mr Canavan said.
“I just don’t think the government seems to take the crime issue seriously in Queensland they only do things, they only apply band aids when there’s a little bit of public outcry and controversy … it seems like it’s a joke for them and it’s not good enough.”
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