Political furore over FIFO concentration camp comments

Labor MP Jo-Ann Miller has landed in a political furore after making comments likening FIFO camps to concentrations camps on Tuesday night.

The outrage expressed by parliamentarians has kept a media storm going around the issue.

Miller’s comments were made in the Queensland parliament, which has spent a full hour yesterday debating a motion to condemn her for the comments.

Miller’s original comments were as follows: “To say that mining companies are engaging in fly-in fly-out postcode apartheid is no exaggeration.”

“Workers are being kept in what can only be described as mining concentration camps.

“They are being told that they are not free to leave or to mingle or to talk with locals.

“In fact, some have to fill out a form and get written permission to leave these concentration camps.”

Queensland mines minister Andrew Cripps has criticised opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk for failing to discipline Miller.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie leaked the May 22 front page of the Courier Mail and displayed it to parliament just after 10pm on May 21.

The front page read “Six Million Reasons to Say Sorry: From Mein Kampf to Mine Camp, Labor MP stands for stupidity”.

Miller attempted to explain herself to the media shortly before parliament adjourned at midnight on May 21.

“Basically what happened was I was in the mining towns last week… I went up there in my capacity as shadow minister for mines and the description that was used in the parliament was exactly as it was described to me by miners and the miners' wives and other community representatives in the towns,” she said.

“[The words concentration camps] were used by the people in the local communities.

“That is how they described it to me and look, if people want to contact me about it, I am willing to talk to them about the conditions in the mining camps and in the mining towns themselves.

“The miners themselves are concerned. They are not allowed to leave the camps without filling in a myriad of forms and getting permission.

“So it was just a description that was used.

“I said 'as described to me' or words to that effect in the parliament… I thought it was fairly clear.

“And I would hope that the people who are concerned about the comments would also talk to the miners and the wives and these families as well, who believe that their mining towns are at risk and they are very concerned about that as well.”

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