Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is feeling the wrath of NSW political leaders over her ongoing stance on her state’s border closures.
On Wednesday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told 2GB radio that the Queensland Premier was being unhelpful when it came to relaxing some restrictions at the border, and claimed she had made decisions without consulting NSW.
“I’ve tried to establish a positive relationship, but it’s a bit difficult when decisions are made without them even telling us,” she told radio host Ben Fordham.
“Can I be absolutely frank? She has made a decision and isn’t willing to talk about that decision and is refusing to budge.
“It’s not for want of trying.”
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Now, NSW leaders believe Ms Palaszczuk’s border closure is more about her re-election bid than considering the welfare of NSW residents, with the Sydney Morning Herald reporting her party has told supporters there will be no change to the border policy until after the October 31 poll.
In emails sent to Labor supporters and obtained by the publication, state secretary Julie-Ann Campbell told Queenslander’s there was “60 days to keep Queensland’s borders safe”, referring to the October 31 election.
“By putting Queenslanders first and closing the borders to COVID-19, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made the necessary and difficult decisions needed to keep Queenslanders safe,” Ms Campbell reportedly wrote in the email.
Ms Palaszczuk has knocked back any suggestion her decision to keep the border closed to NSW was politically driven, standing by her defence that all decisions on the opening and closing is based on the health advice of chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young.
Earlier this week, the Queensland Premier announced the border would remain closed throughout September.
Currently, Queensland considers all of NSW a hotspot for the purposes of travel. Some exemptions are in place for certain postcodes, however, there is no ban on Queensland residents moving freely into NSW.
Despite Ms Berejiklian’s claims of trying to have a conversation with her counterpart, Ms Palaszczuk rejected the comments and said the NSW Premier had not called her.
“That’s ridiculous – she hasn’t made any calls,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“I don’t have any issues working with any of my colleagues around the country; in fact we all have very good working relationships,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro told the Today show on Wednesday that Ms Palaszczuk should “show some heart” with people’s lives on the NSW side of the border.
“Reading this morning that the AFL Grand Final announcement will happen in Queensland, 400 AFL officials out of coronavirus central, which is Melbourne, will go across the border into Queensland, yet a young family can’t get emergency healthcare across the border,” he said.
“I think Annastacia Palaszczuk continues to show politics trumps good policy, and I think she is undoing all her good work.”
Mayor of Moree Plains Shire Council Katrina Humphries also slammed the border closure as an act of “muscle flexing”.
“It is the most un-Australian, disgraceful bit of muscle flexing, desperate behaviour that I have ever seen,” Ms Humphries told Nine News. “We are so sick of it.”
The state’s border closures and how state leaders define a ‘hotspot’ will be key issues at Friday’s National Cabinet meeting. It is expected Prime Minister Scott Morrison will encourage the states to phase out border controls and embrace a national approach on when Australians will be able to cross state borders.