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Dutton and Miles, long-time enemies, put politics aside for football

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Defence Minister Peter Dutton and Deputy Premier Steven Miles have unexpectedly come together, in matching caps and ties, to back the Redcliffe Dolphins.

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The MPs from different sides of politics, and different levels of government, have electorates in the catchment area for the team, which is bidding to join the National Rugby League.

Despite engaging in a war of words for months, largely over differing responses to the pandemic, Dutton and Miles today joined local government and team representatives to publicly back the Dolphins’ NRL bid.

Dutton did not add to his ongoing criticism of Miles acting like a child and vying to become premier, nor did Miles repeat his claim that Dutton mismanaged quarantine so badly in his previous role that he brought COVID-19 into Queensland himself (Dutton was infected early in the pandemic).

Their tentative display of unity was even more unusual considering both men back the Brisbane Broncos.

“The NRL looks to which bids have the support of local, state and federal representatives,” Miles said.

“We thought we could both tell them that and show them that.”

Dutton said he had always been suspicious of people who changed clubs and would personally continue to back the Broncos. But he supported the Dolphins ahead of other bids and intended to make it his “number two club”.

“I sent a photo of a cap before to (Broncos CEO) Karl Morris just to gauge his reaction,” Dutton said.

“I can’t repeat his words, of course.”

Dutton called on former premier Peter Beattie and minister Kate Jones to use their NRL connections to get the Dolphins into the competition.

Miles said it was “the right place, the right stadium and the right team”

Asked if the pair were burying the hatchet, Miles said “maybe one of the hatchets”. He said they would continue to disagree on issues – even in the press conference they gave opposing views on the need for a dedicated quarantine facility in Toowoomba – but on some things they could agree.

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