As co-host of the 60th annual Queens Birthday Ball in 2021, I stood onstage at Brisbane’s majestic City Hall and called the now Queensland Premier Steven Miles a ‘shady bitch’.
It was meant as a compliment and taken in the spirit intended. Because it seems our new premier is not only a canny politician and an able administrator, but also a nice bloke.
The Queens Ball
It is truly wonderful to witness our elected representatives attending the Brisbane LGBTQIA+ community’s most prestigious annual event. The Queens Ball began at Mt Tamborine in 1962, forced to the remote mountaintop location by unrelenting police harassment of ‘camp’ events in Brisbane.
Now, instead of trying to close the event down, influential pollies rock up to join in the fun and demonstrate their support. 💖
A strong Labor cohort shows up every year, along with the Greens and staunch ally, the LNP’s Vicki Howard.
From memory, former LNP Lord Mayor Sallyanne Atkinson was one of the first politicians to attend the ball back in the nineties. There haven’t been many LNP pollies keen to show their support since, but it’d be a brave soul who tried to stop Vicki from flying the rainbow flag.
About halfway into the 2021 Queens Ball Awards, we realised the then-deputy premier was in attendance. We hadn’t been given his name earlier and thus hadn’t introduced him along with his fellow elected representatives.
I followed him on social media at the time for his lively mix of politicking, public service announcements, and humour. I’d cracked up that morning when I read he was playing the world’s smallest violin for Clive Palmer.
I can’t remember now what terrible plight had befallen the litigious billionaire but the deputy premier’s take tickled my funny bone.
And so I joked that the deputy premier enjoyed the latitude to be a shady bitch while my co-host (the fabulous Paul Wheeler) and I conducted the evening’s program under certain unspoken constraints. That we would ‘behave’ and imbue the evening with dignity.
Dignity! Wow! My middle name is Undignified. Destiny Undignified Rogers. D.U.R.
I will just drop in here now, with no pretense of modesty, that I was awarded Entertainer of the Year at the 1987 Queens Ball. In my speech, I thanked, for their continued encouragement, the detractors who complained to venues I was too rude, crude, and lewd — and invited them to go f_ck themselves.
Undignified. I own it. 😇
Local media commentary since the elevation of Steven Miles to the premiership has zeroed in on his humour as a supposed liability.
“They call him Giggles,” the operatives of Brisbane’s main media platform remind us constantly. But many of our state’s most influential journalists write not to inform but to campaign. They’ve lined up one after the other, each with a different story about how Steven Miles became premier.
Umm. Excuse me! The dude was deputy premier. No need for a huge conspiracy and backroom deals to elevate a loyal, hardworking, and able deputy to the main job. Anywhere but in the Queensland media, the promotion is probably expected.
The Giggles thing got a strong run when Steven Miles appeared to call Scott Morrison a c*nt a month before the 2021 Queens Ball while addressing a Labour Day Parade.
“Albo’s here with us at Labour Day – while Scott Morrison’s charging 5,000 bucks a head to have dinner with him.
“What a c*nt… contrast.
“Don’t we need… contrast. It’s contrast.”
Watching the video, it would seem the then deputy premier told the truth when he described his use of the word as a stutter. An embarrassed naughty little boy expression washes quite naturally across his face.
Anyway, he’s far from the first Aussie politician to use the expression.
In 1973, closeted former PM Sir William McMahon complained that PM Gough Whitlam called him both a ‘notorious homosexual’ and a ‘c*nt’.
“I can’t be both,” bitched the man rightfully tagged Silly Billy.
Sir Joh, Mike Ahern, Wayne Goss, and Campbell Newman
The biggest laugh so far comes in an article by the
Courier-Fail Courier-Mail’s Des Houghton. Houghton lauds Queensland’s great leaders, listed as Joh Bjelke Petersen, Mike Ahern, Wayne Goss, and Campbell Newman.
F*ck me! “You can’t sit on a barbed wire fence, and have one ear to the ground,” as Bjelke Petersen liked to say.
Mike Ahern and Wayne Goss, I’ll agree. Mike Ahern tried to keep Bjelke Petersen in check from within the government for years and then, as premier, did his best to clean up the Nationals after the party finally ousted Sir Joh. (Ahern is fondly remembered by LGBTQIA+ elders for his covert support of the Queensland AIDS Council in defiance of the homophobic premier.)
Wayne Goss brought democracy to Queensland following decades of misrule under the LNP’s National/Liberal predecessors. He overhauled the moribund economy, tackled corruption, decriminalised male homosexuality, and dragged Queensland into the 20th century on the eve of the 21st.
But Bjelke Petersen and Newman!
Bjelke Petersen was a corrupt, bigoted POS. He talked big but I lived under his rule. Our roads were goat tracks, our schools and hospitals ramshackle lean-tos. Police controlled prostitution, drugs, and other criminal enterprises with Joh’s hand-picked police commissioner afterward spending a decade in jail for corruption. Bjelke Petersen only held the premiership by cheating. The Hillbilly dictator remained premier after one election where his party won only 20% of the vote but controlled a majority of seats through a blatant gerrymander.
And Campbell Newman? Queensland electors hated his government so much that in 2015, Annastacia Palaszczuk reversed his 2012 landslide and took power after just one three-year term, ousting Newman from his own seat in the process.
Say no more!
Queensland’s new premier
Despite the partisan bleatings of the local media hacks, I hold high hopes for the Miles Government. The Palaszczuk Government administered the state effectively and proved a great friend to the LGBTQIA+ community.
PFLAG+ National Spokesperson and legendary activist Shelley Argent told QNews in 2020 that Annastacia Palaszczuk achieved more for LGBTQIA+ rights than any other premier in Queensland’s history.
Steven Miles was an important part of the Palaszczuk Government and I expect the government to continue its record of support for our community.
And I would not be surprised to see Labor win the 2024 state election. The Murdochracy already predicts a Labor loss — but some of us have memories. They do that every election. Every election.
Answer me this. Name three members of the LNP opposition other than leader David Crisafulli. In fact, did you even remember his name or just his nightly whine on the television news?
The 60th annual Queens Ball in 2021:
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