Editorial: 'Why on Earth didn’t couple just stay home?'
Victorians doing the "Gundy Run" to sneak over the Queensland border has become a standing joke over the past 15 months in the southern Queensland town of Goondiwindi.
But as the latest Covid-19 scare now gripping the tourism industry and the Sunshine Coast shows, selfishly ignoring the rules and bringing Covid-19 into Queensland is no laughing matter.
On the coldest day of the year, the pensioners and vulnerable are being forced out of their homes and into long freezing queues to get Covid-tested because a couple from Victoria appear to have ignored the rules and crossed into Queensland without an exemption, before heading out to cafes and shopping centres across Caloundra.
The queues for testing have snaked for kilometres on the Sunshine Coast since the announcement on Wednesday that a 44-year-old woman from Victoria had left that state with her now-Covid-positive husband after the Melbourne lockdown was in force, and made her way through New South Wales, then the infamous Goondiwindi border crossing into Queensland.
What is normally a pretty sleepy part of the Sunshine Coast has been gripped by fear - fear that in the depth of winter, that ticklish cough or runny nose were not just the innocent result of the plunging temperature but a sinister killer that was picked up by doing nothing worse than nursing a cuppa at a shopping centre cafe.
The border crossing Victorians are only being investigated and have not been charged with any offence. It's also worth remembering that it's not a crime to have Covid-19; it's only an offence to break the rules enacted to stop it spreading.
That aside, we all have a personal responsibility to do what we can not to spread it. In this instance, why on Earth didn't they stay home? And why on Earth, once they'd arrived, did they launch into a tour of so many places?
Three cafes, two shopping centres and one convenience centre and the almost-obligatory Bunnings are on the exposure list, all popular with retirees and the elderly.
And it is rippling out from there.
Workers are being forced to take time out to get tested, locked in at home until they receive the all-clear.
Schools have already cut parents from events, leaving kids to a repeat of lonely performances without even an online crowd of their loved ones.
Community clubs have had to warn members off from attending functions or competitions.
And that's before the cost to Queensland's Covid-ravaged tourism sector is included.
Once again, the selfishness of just a couple of people is holding a major Queensland economic powerhouse to ransom.
Maybe the pressure of getting a new job played a part in this couple hitting the road.
Maybe the crippling claustrophobia of enduring another Victorian lockdown pushed them to it.
But maybe the problem is even deeper.
After over a year of Covid-19 being on our shores, we still do not have an international quarantine system that is good enough. Hotel rooms are not designed for isolation.
We need better - we need our federal and state politicians to agree on how to do that. We also need more people to get vaccinated.
And fortunately on that, the arrival of Covid-19 in Queensland will encourage more people to shrug off any vaccination hesitancy and get the jabs that could free us all.
PREMIER'S TOKYO TRIP JUSTIFIED
The LNP is wrong, wrong, wrong to criticise Premier Annastacia Palazczuk for potentially having to travel to Tokyo for a final push to the International Olympic Committee ahead of its decision on whether Brisbane will host the Games in 2032.
For the past three years, one of the most powerful messages Queensland has sent to the IOC is that our state politicians from both sides of Parliament are in lock-step in backing the bid.
It is a position that has impressed the IOC, which values political certainty in its hosts.
Opposition Leader David Crisafulli should hang his head in shame that he has now allowed his Manager of Opposition Business Jarrod Bleijie to put that at risk for the sake of one day of pointscoring.
The undeniable fact is that hosting the Games in 2032 would deliver two golden decades for all of Queensland.
If the Premier needs to front up to Tokyo to get our bid over the line, then all Queenslanders should back that.
With so much at stake, it doesn't matter if she has to attend her Budget estimates hearings via videolink.
Originally published as Editor's view: Why on Earth didn't couple just stay home?