Prime Minister Scott Morrison will be banned from entering Queensland for the duration of the state election campaign unless he is prepared to pay $2800 to quarantine for 14 days in a government facility.
Nearly seven weeks after he last entered the sunshine state, there’s no signs that the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will lift the border bans before the October 31 election.
Queensland’s border ban will effectively stop the Prime Minister, Labor leader Anthony Albanese and any other frontbenchers from entering the state for the duration of the election unless they are prepared to spend a fortnight in quarantine.
It follows an ugly war of words between the Prime Minister and the Queensland Premier over the plight of hardship cases including a young woman who was unable to attend her father’s funeral.
Last week, the Queensland Premier hit back at the Prime Minister, accusing him of “bullying” her to intervene in the case of a woman who was unable to attend her father’s funeral.
“I will not be bullied nor will I be intimidated by the Prime Minister of this country who contacted me this morning and who I made [it] very clear to, the fact that it is not my decision,” she said.
“The Prime Minister at the time said to me that he had not gone public, but Mr Speaker, I knew that he would go public.
“To use the tragedy of this personal family is disgusting.”
Both leaders have confirmed they have no plans to travel to Queensland while the tough border restrictions remain in place.
The current border closures, which prohibit anyone from a ‘hotspot’ area including Canberra coming to Queensland without a 14 day quarantine period will be reviewed at the end of every month.
The only alternative is to fly from Canberra to “COVID-free” Adelaide, which reopened the border to the ACT this week and spend a fortnight there, before travelling on to Brisbane.
According to Queensland Health Department guidelines, the border will remain shut to NSW, ACT and Victorian residents unless there are 28 days without community transmission in those jurisdictions.
And while there is provision for MPs’ to enter the state to conduct their work, the requirement they complete a quarantine period is non-negotiable.
“(Elected representatives) can enter Queensland from a declared COVID-19 hotspot, such as the ACT, to return to their electorate or to perform official duties,” a Queensland Health spokesman said. “They must enter via air and will be required to quarantine for 14 days from the date of arrival as per global quarantine requirements.”
Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young has previously defended the decision to declare Canberra a hotspot despite the fact the nation’s capital hasn’t had a case in months.
“Canberra is declared a hotspot because it is in the middle of NSW,” Dr Young said, adding that many people in Canberra have holiday homes on the NSW south coast where there have been cases more recently,’’ she said.
In July, the Prime Minister unveiled a $400 million package to attract international blockbusters to film in Australia on the Gold Coast.
However, the Queensland opposition leader Deb Frecklington did not attend the event as she had a prior engagement.
“I let her know I was coming up here today, and she was pleased with the announcement we were making today for Queensland,” Mr Morrison said.