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17 July, 2020

OPINION: Bordering on hypocrisy

On July 10 Queensland reopened its borders to the rest of Australia and when I say the rest of Australia I mean to everyone except Victorians.

By Phil Brandel

On July 10 Queensland reopened its borders to the rest of Australia and when I say the rest of Australia I mean to everyone except Victorians.

Queensland Premier Palaszczuk closed the border on March 25 and since then she has been the target of repeated verbal criticisms from NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Prime Minister Scott Morrison over the decision to close the border.

In May of this year when NSW had the highest infection rate in the country, Ms Berejiklian said border closures were not “logical”.

The message was repeated by NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro, who said the border closure was "ridiculous" and “this idea that borders should be shut doesn't even make sense”.

Despite pressure from the NSW Premier and the Prime Minister, Ms Palaszczuk stuck to her guns, saying that she wouldn’t be lectured to by the worst-performing states in the country (NSW and Vic)

She asserted that she would rely on advice from the country's longest-serving chief health officer, Jeannette Young when it came to deciding what to do regarding the borders.

At the time of publication, Queensland had only four cases of COVID in the state from returning members of our defence force.

Gladys Berejiklian previously stated that closing borders “doesn’t help Australia” and her state was happy to welcome interstate travellers, claiming that lifting restrictions were necessary for economic recovery.

How the tables have turned.

On Monday, July 6 Gladys Berejiklian announced the decision to close the NSW border with Victoria.

PM Scott Morrison was also forced to change his outlook, agreeing with premiers Daniel Andrews and Gladys Berejiklian that the Victorian-NSW border should be closed.

The closure was effective from Wednesday, 8 July with Premier Gladys Berejiklian saying that the decision was made after consulting with the NSW Chief Health Officer and discussions with the Prime Minister and Victorian Premier Dan Andrews.

“The people of NSW have done an incredible job to help stop the spread of COVID-19, allowing us to open up our economy,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“The outbreak of cases we are seeing in Victoria is putting these gains at risk.

“I do not take this step lightly, but have always said we will do what we must to protect the health and jobs of NSW residents.”

So why wasn’t the Queensland Premier applauded and supported by the Federal government and the NSW Government when she decided to close the border?

Why weren’t the lives of Queenslanders deemed as important or necessary as that of the residents of NSW and Victoria?

It’s because we have a labor State Government whereas the NSW State Government and the Federal Government are both liberals. With a Queensland state election coming up in October, it would help the Libs chance at the polls by destabilising a sitting labor government.

The support for one state and not another is not only bordering on hypocrisy, it’s betrayal.


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