QLD's CLOSED BORDER: The decision 20 million Aussies hate

 

Of all the rules that Australia's states and territories have introduced since the COVID-19 pandemic struck seven months ago, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's hard border closure has been one of the most contentious.

From breakfast television hosts and Prime Minister Scott Morrison to Ms Palaszczuk's NSW counterpart Gladys Berejiklian, a barrage of criticism has been flung at the Sunshine State's call to keep its southern neighbours locked out for the better part of 2020.

Ms Palaszczuk, who will seek her third term as Premier on October 31, has been dubbed the "Queensland version of Donald Trump … building the wall keeping all of the Mexicans out from down south", destroying jobs and the economy by maintaining her "silly" and "cruel" stance.

"It's not evidence-based. It's simply I think off the back of her election. She wants to look tough for Queensland residents," NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said earlier this month.

"If she keeps this up and we don't have a vaccine, we don't have a treatment, this could go on for years. This is a silly game you shouldn't be playing. She's playing with people's lives."

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been dubbed her state’s “version of Donald Trump” because of her hard border stance, and Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington has also voiced her support of the contentious rule. Picture: NCA NewsWire
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been dubbed her state’s “version of Donald Trump” because of her hard border stance, and Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington has also voiced her support of the contentious rule. Picture: NCA NewsWire

Despite the rest of Australia hating the rule, Queenslanders have come out in support of the closure - which won't be going anywhere, even if Ms Palaszczuk isn't re-elected.

The latest Newspoll, conducted for The Australianin mid-September, found that 53 per cent of voters found the border controls "about right" - compared with 37 per cent, who said the restrictions were "too strict".

Under the rule, Queensland won't reopen to NSW or Victoria until the states have gone 28 days straight without any cases of community transmission.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has consistently called out the border closure as an “offensive” and “unrealistic” rule, and the PM has also been a vocal critic of Ms Palaszczuk’s stance.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has consistently called out the border closure as an “offensive” and “unrealistic” rule, and the PM has also been a vocal critic of Ms Palaszczuk’s stance.

However, Ms Frecklington said while she accepts the guideline, her stance on the borders was different.

"I have always said it can't be set and forget … I've always said that borders shouldn't be closed for a day longer than they need to be," she said.

"But that is current health advice and we accept that."

She chimed in on Mr Hazzard's calls that Ms Palaszczuk was "playing politics with the border and playing politics with the pandemic".

"With me as premier, you would have a premier that would make decisions with compassion, consistency and common sense," she said.

The PM said yesterday that while Ms Palaszczuk's hard border closure had decimated Queensland's tourism and hospitality industries, Ms Frecklington "has a plan to get Queenslanders working again".

"The real difference I think is whether someone's actually got a plan to get Queenslanders back into jobs," he told reporters.

"(Deb has) thought very carefully about the way that Queensland can grow back out of this COVID-19 recession."

Queensland was pegged to at last reopen to NSW on November 1 - the day after the election - but a growing number of cases of community transmission in the latter state could throw the decision into jeopardy.

The Courier Mailreports that the chief health officer Dr Jeanette Young will make the call the week before the slated reopening, based on the latest information.

Dr Young told reporters last Friday that while NSW had made "extremely good" progress in tracing the latest clusters, "we need to wait a bit longer (to decide) whether or not we need to change the plan to open to NSW. At the moment, it's planned for November 1."

"We will continue to monitor … although they are finding the contacts … they are getting continuing cases. So we will have to watch and see what happens," she said.



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