Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has slammed Queensland Premier Steven Miles after he was caught laughing off a question about the state’s youth crime crisis, insisting that the Labor leader was “not fit for the job”.
Mr Miles is under heavy fire after he was filmed giggling at a press conference after being asked about whether the state needed more police to respond to youth crime.
Asked about the reaction on Tuesday, Mr Dutton said Queenslanders were facing a serious crime endemic that called for a leader who could “stand up” and “provide support”.
“I think it’s one of the most emotional and serious issues in Queensland at the moment,” Mr Dutton told 2GB.
“And if the Premier in the first instance doesn’t have the ability to conduct himself with decency and dignity and respect, then he’s not fit for the job.”
Facing a barrage of criticism, Mr Miles said he was misrepresented and called claims that he was laughing off youth crime as “disrespectful”.
“No one in Queensland, myself included, is laughing at this tragedy,” Mr Miles wrote in an X post.
“A family and a community is grieving. Sensational headlines and misrepresentations have no part to play in Queensland this week.”
Unconvinced, Mr Dutton doubled down on his attack on the Premier, accusing him of fabricating an excuse to cover his tracks.
“I think it has compounded his problem and what has now made his position untenable is that he has concocted this story that actually, he wasn’t laughing at that,” Mr Dutton said.
Earlier, Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said Queensland had a “bail problem” and a “judge problem”, while claiming the judiciary is “out of touch”.
The Queensland Police Union is calling for ankle bracelets and deportation to be considered among a raft of new powers to tackle the state’s worsening youth crime crisis.
“These latte-sipping judges living in wealthy suburbs in inner-city Brisbane have no connection with the average Queenslander,” Mr Leavers said.
“So that’s a start. We’ve got to hold them to account now. Bail is a privilege, not a right.”
He argued an ankle bracelet was a fair trade-off for being given the privilege of serving time within the community rather than behind bars.
Mr Leavers went on to claim that too often the rights of the offender were prioritised over the victim, criticising judges for stopping media coverage of court cases to ease the discomfort of offenders.
“I’m sorry but what about a 70-year-old lady who was murdered while her six-year-old granddaughter was there? Where are her rights and the rights of the family?” he said.
The uproar comes after acting magistrate Robert Turra blocked reporters from covering a hearing into the alleged murder of grandmother Vyleen White, arguing the media’s presence in the court could be “prejudicial” to the 16-year-old boy charged with the crime.
The 70-year-old was allegedly stabbed to death at the Redbank Plains Shopping Centre in Ipswich on Saturday.
Police have charged five children in relation to the alleged attack, including a 16-year-old Bellbird Park boy who was charged with murder.
Queensland Premier Steven Miles agreed that magistrates had been too cautious when preventing reporters from covering high-profile cases, suggesting it could degrade the proper “scrutiny” of the court process.
“At the moment, magistrates are erring too much on the side of not allowing journalists in,” he said at the Queensland Media Club on Tuesday.
Mr Miles also suggested deportation for foreign visitors who had committed serious crimes and completed their jail time.
“No more mollycoddling these people and saying they’ve got rights. Well, they lose their rights when they commit serious crimes,” he said.
“I know this is extreme, but we have real issues and we need to deal with a generation where we have problems. But I will say this, police and the government cannot be the parents of every child in this state. We actually need our parents to do their job.”