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Friday, November 27, 2020

NSW QLD border: Annastacia Palaszczuk and Gladys Berejiklian to face off at National Cabinet

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The bitter battle over the Queensland-New South Wales border will be dragged back into the spotlight on Friday as the state’s Premiers prepare to face off at National Cabinet.

The regular intergovernmental forum was created to handle the coronavirus crisis, but with community transmitted cases now rare in Australia, attention will likely turn to getting the country open again.

Gladys Berejiklian has been vocal in her criticism of her Queensland counterpart Annastacia Palaszczuk, who has locked greater Sydney and Victorian travellers out until at least the end of the month.

The NSW Premier is odds-on to force the issue at the meeting of the state leaders with a little help from her party colleague, the Prime Minister.

RELATED: Text between feuding premiers

Ms Berejiklian is fed up with her Queensland counterpart. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper
media_cameraMs Berejiklian is fed up with her Queensland counterpart. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper

The public feud over the border decision has raged for months but it became personal and spiteful last week after a strange text message conversation between the two was leaked.

News.com.au confirmed despite the Queensland Premier’s claim Ms Berejiklian “never called her” about borders, she did text the night after the Sunshine State’s election.

“Hi Annastacia Congratulations on your election win,” the text says.

“I can imagine how difficult that was during a pandemic! Hope we can work together to get our borders open. Gladys.”

But Ms Palaszczuk failed to reply for several days before sending a text about the State of Origin result.

Three days later, Ms Palaszczuk replied with the celebratory war cry “Queenslander” after her state’s victory in the rugby league game.

The NSW Premier has repeatedly complained her Queensland counterpart won’t discuss the increasingly controversial topic.

“I did not hear from her until last night when she sent me a text about State of Origin,” Ms Berejiklian said last week.

“I didn’t know whether to be shocked or bemused, frankly, because I’m worried about jobs and I’m worried about people not seeing their families.

“And she just rubbed in the fact that Queensland won the game; that’s fine.

“She didn’t mention borders, she didn’t mention a thanks for the congratulations.”

The freshly re-elected Queensland Premier faces a spiteful National Cabinet meeting on Friday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
media_cameraThe freshly re-elected Queensland Premier faces a spiteful National Cabinet meeting on Friday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

It has become tradition for the leaders of each state to make playful bets to celebrate the annual rugby league match up in the State of Origin but Ms Berejiklian said she wouldn’t even send a text in the lead up to Wednesday’s game.

“I think I‘ve made my case clear. And she’s made her position clear. And I don’t think that she’s going to budge,” she told the ABC.

“It‘s a lot at stake. I think that the goalposts that Queensland has set for opening the borders to NSW is unrealistic, and I just wish that they would act in a more compassionate and commonsense way.

“There was absolutely no health advice which says that NSW poses a danger to anybody.”

To make matters worse, reports Queensland could open to Victoria before NSW infuriated Ms Berejiklian.

Queensland‘s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young is reportedly considering allowing Victorians into the Sunshine State from December 1 despite its recent and horrific second wave.

“I‘m just mortified by that notion,” Ms Berejiklian told Today.

“I think it‘s cruel. I think it’s unjustified and I think it’s spiteful. And there’s no health or scientific basis to it.

“NSW has demonstrated that you can manage the pandemic by keeping the community safe but also by keeping people in jobs and keeping people mobile and relatively free in a COVID-safe way.”

Ms Palaszczuk has refused to budge over the state’s border policy despite increased commitment from other leaders to do so.

NSW will allow Victorian travellers in from November 23 but the Queensland Premier said she would continue to deal with the policy at the end of each month rather than weekly, despite new national cases becoming rare.

“Everyone is making a bigger deal of this than needs to be,” Ms Palaszczuk told reporters last week.

“Let’s be practical and use commonsense here.

“Our border measures have kept Queenslanders safe.”

Originally published as Premiers to face off over borders

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