Queensland deputy premier Steven Miles claims he was “misheard” during a speech at a rowdy union rally, where he appeared to utter an offensive slur in reference to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“I understand that was a slight stutter and people might have misheard me,” the outspoken Labor politician said, after he appeared to use the word ‘c–t’ on Monday morning.
“It was not my intention in any way, and I want to rule that out as clearly as I possibly can.”
Mr Miles, who has garnered countless headlines for his attacks on the Morrison government in defence of Queensland’s border and COVID policies, made the slip-up while speaking at a May Day rally in Brisbane alongside federal party leader Anthony Albanese.
Mr Morrison is also in Queensland, with Mr Miles criticising the PM for holding party fundraising dinners.
“Think about that, will you? Albo’s with us, at Labor Day, while Scott Morrison is charging $5000 a head to have dinner with him,” Mr Miles said.
“What a contrast.”
It was that last word that Mr Miles appeared to stumble over, initially enunciating only the first syllable. It drew wild cheers from the audience, before the deputy premier immediately repeated the word “contrast”.
He appeared embarrassed as the crowd cheered, sticking out his tongue and looking to the side of the stage, repeating “contrast” again and smiling.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles says he "might have stuttered while speaking" at today's Labour Day March in Brisbane after appearing to use an offensive word. He added that whatever he thinks of Scott Morrison he'd never use language like that.
— 10 News First Queensland (@10NewsFirstQLD) May 3, 2021
Speaking with Mr Albanese at a press conference after the speech, Mr Miles tried to clear up the incident.
“I understand I might have stuttered while speaking earlier and some in the crowd might have misheard. What I said I want to be very, very clear that I was using the word ‘contrast’, the word ‘contrast’,” he said.
“Whatever I think of the Prime Minister, I would never ever use, never ever use language like that. So I want to be very clear, ‘contrast’ was the word I was using.”
Asked about the crowd’s cheers, Mr Miles repeated his denial that the slip-up was intentional.
“I can’t speak for the crowd’s reaction. It was not my intention in any way, and I want to rule that out as clearly as I possibly can,” he said.