Jo-Ann Miller
Jo-Ann Miller

Maverick MP Jo-Ann Miller considers tilt for Mayor

THE Palaszczuk Government could be thrown into turmoil and forced to fight a bruising by-election just months before this year's election, amid speculation maverick Labor MP Jo-Ann Miller is considering a tilt for Ipswich mayor.

The move would mean Labor's longest serving member would have to quit as an MP to run one of Queensland's biggest councils, potentially reducing the Government's already slim majority and sparking a tight race for her Bundamba seat between Labor and One Nation.

Mrs Miller's possible defection to local government would be another major distraction for the second-term Labor administration, which is trailing the LNP in The Courier-Mail's latest YouGov opinion poll.

Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller has declined to comment on the speculation. Picture: AAP/Ric Frearson
Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller has declined to comment on the speculation. Picture: AAP/Ric Frearson

The Courier-Mail understands Mrs Miller is actively considering a run and is talking with family and close friends on whether to make the move just two months from the March 28 council election.

It is understood she would not make a decision for some time, but she would have to nominate before March 3.

Mrs Miller, 61, declined to comment.

The shake-up would trigger a by-election in her Bundamba electorate about seven months before the October 31 general election if she decides to run, putting the seat at risk to a campaign from One Nation.

The fight for the traditionally ultra-safe Labor seat would also likely coincide with the state's earlier-than-usual Budget on April 28.

It comes after LNP's Currumbin MP Jann Stuckey last night announced she was resigning from state parliament, in a move that will also likely lead to a by-election.

The Local Government Electoral Act says a Member of the Legislative Assembly may nominate as a candidate for election as a councillor, but "must resign on becoming a candidate".

At the 2017 state election, a One Nation candidate did not run in Mrs Miller's electorate - but the minor party came second in the two-party preferred votes in the nearby seats of Ipswich, Ipswich West and Jordan.

She won her seat convincingly with 71.55 per cent of the two-party preferred vote.

Ipswich residents have been without an elected council since August 2018, when its councillors were dismissed by the State Government.

It came after more than a dozen people linked to the council were charged by the state's corruption watchdog since it launched a probe in 2016.

None of the sacked councillors have ever been charged with an offence.

Mrs Miller has previously spoken of the "burden" she carried after speaking out about the council and the toll taken on her and her family.

On the day the council was sacked, Mrs Miller took a swipe at the outgoing administration in a speech to state parliament, also adding that she had paid "a high price for standing up".

"It takes guts and honour to call this behaviour out," she told the House at the time.