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Premier, PM open fire even as Palaszczuk calls for end to border war

Brisbane Times logo Brisbane Times 30/06/2020 Lydia Lynch and Rob Harris

Annastacia Palaszczuk has called for a ceasefire on Queensland's long-running border war, but not before the Premier fired off a few shots at Scott Morrison.

And the Prime Minister lobbed a volley back, even as Queensland announced the date it would roll out the welcome wagon.

Discrepancy in health advice from federal and state authorities about Queensland's closed border had divided the nation for weeks, but Ms Palaszczuk had stood firm.

In May, federal medical officers said there was no reason for state borders to remain closed. Queensland's own chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, thought otherwise and advised the Premier to keep the drawbridge up.

After weeks of mounting pressure, Ms Palaszczuk on Tuesday afternoon confirmed Queensland would soon reopen to interstate travellers - with the exception of Victorians, who would have to enter quarantine and pay for it themselves.

Ms Palaszczuk used the announcement to call for a ceasefire, while slinging a verbal barb at the Prime Minister, Mr Morrison.

"These border wars have got to stop," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"I think a national leader should have been able to bring all of the states and territories together.

"Frankly, I'm a bit sick that Queensland has been singled out as opposed to South Australia, and Tasmania, just to name a few.

"Perhaps if Victoria had been almost self-quarantined or quarantined, then the Prime Minister could have set a date for all of the other states and territories once Victoria was under control."

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaks to the media during a press conference in Brisbane, Tuesday, June 30, 2020. The Queensland border will remain closed to Victoria but reopen to other states on July 10. © AAP Image/Glenn Hunt Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaks to the media during a press conference in Brisbane, Tuesday, June 30, 2020. The Queensland border will remain closed to Victoria but reopen to other states on July 10. Ms Palaszczuk had previously praised Mr Morrison's leadership throughout the coronavirus crisis.

"I support the national cabinet but what I don't support is people being friendly inside those walls and then sending out others to do their dirty work," she said.

"At the moment, what we have is a bit of a confrontation where fights are being picked at different states and, frankly, I don't think it's good enough.

"I've been silent for a long time and I will not be silenced for standing up for what I believe to be right, for the health advice that I'm being provided by Dr Young.

"Dr Young, and the advice that she has given us, has put Queensland in a very good position."

Mr Morrison returned fire, blasting states that closed their borders to Victoria.

"There are hot spots in one part of Melbourne - admittedly it's very serious, it has our total focus and it is of great concern," he said.

"But if you are living in Wangaratta [in Victoria], then you are no more affected by what's going on in those suburbs of Melbourne than if you are in Whyalla [in South Australia], so we need to get some perspective."

Mr Morrison said there would be more outbreaks and hot spots but "you just can't shut Australia up every time there's an outbreak".

"We need to ensure our economy builds back with confidence and resilience," he said.

"We can't let us hold us back, and we can't go stop-start with those things."

After months of pressuring the state government to reopen the borders, Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said she welcomed the announcement.

"It ends weeks of uncertainty and indecision from the Queensland Premier.

"We know about the terrible impacts the border closures have had on Queensland families and Queensland businesses.

"I say to Queenslanders, go out and buy your mates a beer this weekend for all of the good work you have done to smash the curve."

NSW, the ACT and Victoria have kept their borders open throughout the pandemic.

The Northern Territory was set to open its borders on July 17 and Tasmania on July 24.

Western Australia shelved its August 8 reopening date and South Australia has scrapped its plan to lift remaining border restrictions on July 20, due to the outbreak in Victoria.

"We have said all along that we would take sensible, measured steps to easing restrictions for Queenslanders and that's exactly what we're doing," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"If there is an outbreak in any state, we reserve the right to review the border again."


Video: Queensland Government to announce border changes today (ABC NEWS)

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