Labor firebrand is on a short leash
MAVERICK Labor MP Jo-Ann Miller will not take part in additional Budget Estimates hearings this year amid revelations her colleagues passed a motion to compel Labor MPs to seek caucus permission before making a special appearance.
Mrs Miller has spent the last two Budgets Estimates hearings delivering friendly fire to government ministers after breaking with tradition in 2016 and seeking special leave to sit on various committees to quiz her Cabinet colleagues.
MPs who are not already members of a committee can apply for leave to appear and ask questions during Estimates under the Parliament's Standing Orders.
This year the Bundamba MP said she would not be seeking such leave.
News Queensland can reveal her party colleagues passed a motion at a special caucus meeting last week requiring Labor MPs to seek caucus approval if t hey wanted to appear before committees they are not already a part of.
It is understood Mrs Miller was absent from the caucus meeting, held on July 16 to discuss Labor's abortion decriminalisation laws, when the motion was moved and passed.
Instead, she will only appear when her committee, the Transport and Public Works Committee, is due to hold its Estimates hearing on Friday.
The LNP have questioned whether the motion aimed to deter Mrs Miller from appearing.
Chief Government Whip Don Brown told The Courier-Mail he did not believe the caucus motion clashed with Parliament's Standing Orders regarding Estimates.
He said the new rule was designed to ensure Labor's committee members had priority when it came to asking questions.
"Any member can ask Committee chairs for leave to attend Estimates hearings," Mr Brown said.
"The Labor caucus has moved to prioritise MPs who are members of a committee for time allocated to Government members.
"To date no member has indicated to either the committee chairs or myself a desire to attend a separate Estimates session."
Leader of Opposition Business Jarrod Bleijie - who yesterday quizzed the Clerk of the Parliament over what constituted an obstruction of an MP in their duties - described the Labor caucus motion as "highly concerning".
"I can understand why the Government would do it. They don't want the Member for Bundamba to give scrutiny to her own government and for the government's own failings over Labor's Ipswich City Council," he said.
"If this is true then the onus is on Jo-Ann Miller to complain to the Speaker that such action has occurred that has prevented and obstructed her from fulfilling her duties as an MP."