Australia’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, have been vocal in their unhappiness at Queensland’s hard border.
But Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has come out fighting, saying she’s not going to be intimidated into doing something that may not be in the best interests of her state.
Fundamental concern is for Queenslanders
“I think it’s a bit disingenuous for this heightened criticism that is coming from a whole lot of levels when our fundamental concern is to look after Queenslanders and to make sure that they are safe during this time,” she said during a tough-talking session with local media on Friday.
“I do not want to see what has happened in our aged care sector in NSW and in Victoria happen here in Queensland. That would be a nightmare,” Palaszczuk added.
“Victoria and NSW need to get everything under control then the whole country can open up. It’s a very simple.”
Faced relentless pressure and intimidation
The Premier told journalists that there had been relentless pressure and intimidation over her government’s tough stance on border restrictions, but she remained unmoved. Her family had also been upset by some of the comments.
“It is relentless. It is intimidating. But I will not be intimidated,” she said.
“The Deputy Chief Health Officer came out and said the aim was no community transmission. That’s what the Deputy National Chief Health Officer said. And we have seen that happen in other states and territories and my focus has always been as a country we should be focused on the risk areas – and that is Victoria and NSW.”
Queensland agrees to in-principle agreement
But despite her stance, Palaszczuk is one of the Premiers who signed up to an in-principle agreement at National Cabinet later on Friday to work towards having domestic borders open by December.
There are no guarantees in that, but Prime Minister Morrison says the plan is to move towards a more refined hotspot model, rather than blanket border closures.
The exception is Western Australia, which has declined to sign up for any easing its tough border restrictions in the near future.