Bridget McKenzie, the former deputy leader of the federal Nationals and a Victorian senator, is on ABC News Breakfast explaining John Barilaro’s move yesterday, as “the New South Wales Nationals are doing exactly what they were sent to Macquarie Street to do.”
And that’s to stand up for their constituents. I mean, I don’t think it’s surprising that city-centric policy decisions being made in the main by the Liberal and the Labor party are being challenged by the Nationals, whether it’s in Macquarie Street, in Canberra, or in Spring Street…
….It’s not about koalas.
(narrator – it is about koalas)
I am sure we will hear a lot more about that today though, so stay tuned.
And for the record, because this line has taken hold as well, Tom Hanks is also in quarantine. He was allowed entry into the state, but is in quarantine for two weeks.
Same with the AFL executives. They are in quarantine and paying for the hotel.
You can get an exemption to go to Queensland if you meet any of the exemptions. That includes personal and work reasons. But everyone has to quarantine. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m not saying I agree with it either way – I’m just saying the blanket rule applies and this idea that Hanks and Hollywood and sporting elites are laughing it up on Gold Coast beaches while ‘normal’ people have to quarantine is not right.
Here is what Dr Jeannette Young said on that yesterday:
I will always give an exemption to someone who needs to come into the state because of a family reason and I have done that regularly and that will continue to happen under that new team.
So I have had many, many exemptions from people who are wanting to come up to support their grandchildren who are having children and they haven’t got parents here and they need to support them because they have got to go into hospital and look after other children.
So there are lots and lots and lots of exemption requests to support family, to support close friends, and they are always granted, but they are granted with a need for quarantine. No different to all of these other exemptions.
There is a lot on social media featuring one quote from Queensland’s chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, yesterday, as she spoke about exemptions. It was in response to a question on why movie stars and sports stars were allowed entry into Queensland:
She did say it – but it was part of a much longer statement, where she also spoke about people entering the state for personal reasons, including funerals:
Anyone can come into Queensland who has got a reason to come in that meets one of our requirements.
So, anyone can come to Queensland if they wish to see a dying relative or, indeed, a dying close friend.
Then the next part of that exemption is what they need to do when they come – and that is the same.
I have given exemptions to people in the sporting industry for a whole range of codes because it is important that we start that work, but they all go into quarantine.
I have given exemptions for people in entertainment and film because that is bringing a lot of money into this state and, can I say, we need every single dollar in our state.
We need to make sure that our economy is going ahead as much as it can, as long as it is safe.
So my first – the first thing the – thing I do before I make a decision about anything is: it safe to the Queensland population?
If it is safe, I look at how it can be done and whether that is the AFL, the NRL, whether it is swimming, tennis – all of the sports – cricket recently because we are coming know that season. Whether it is any of those, whether it is entertainment industry, film industry, whether it is agricultural, whether it is are sources and mining, construction.
Anything that will benefit our community because I actually believe that the economy has an enormous role in determining health and the health outcomes for Queenslanders, but before I agree to anything it is whether it is safe.
Have your opinions by all means – everyone does – but have the context as well.
In just a few short hours we will find which way John Barilaro will go after Gladys Berejiklian issued her Coalition partner an ultimatum – in, or out?
Barilaro effectively pulled the Nationals out of the coalition in NSW yesterday, over environmental laws designed to protect koalas. Apparently the ability to kill koalas is one of the hills Barilaro is prepared to die on. He declared the Nationals would sit on the crossbench, abstain from government bills, except for those related to regional NSW, and break away from joint-party room and leadership meetings.
Which is cool, but he also wants to retain all the Nationals cabinet positions.
Berejiklian has said yeah-nah.
The NSW premier has given the Nationals until 9am to either get back in the tent, or accept they’ll be on the crossbench with all that entails – including giving up their ministries.
That would plunge Berejiklian into a hung parliament, but she’s not blinking.
Barilaro was on Sky last night talking compromise.
This won’t be about backing down. I can hit a pause button for a second. At some point in the next two or three weeks, we have to confront the issue about the koala habitats. We have tried our hardest, what gives me confidence, but I’m not going to blow up the government. I’m not going to walk away from our ministerial responsibilities. When we’re at the table, the regions win.
We’ll keep you up to date on that. We’ll also keep you up to date on all the Covid news, which includes the border wars.
The Queensland border closure has been an ongoing flashpoint, but the closure to the ACT, which has not had a case for two months, has been a particular sore point.
That all came to ahead when Sarah Caisip, a Queensland woman, who moved to the ACT for work, was unable to attend her father’s funeral, because of quarantine restrictions.
Scott Morrison made an emotional plea to allow the woman to attend the funeral. In the end, Sarah was allowed a private viewing of her father, which she was escorted to, by police, and attended wearing full PPE gear.
The state’s chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, said she was sorry, but she was trying to stay two weeks ahead and funerals often included vulnerable people, so there was a blanket rule.
In the Queensland parliament, Annastacia Palaszczuk said the decision was not for her to make, but for her CHO, and accused the prime minister of attempting to “bully” her.
Morrison said it was time for premiers to start showing compassion. He had a chat to Sky last night too:
I’ve seen the images of when she went to see her dad and there’ve been some shocking days during the course of this pandemic. And today was, today just hurt. And it wasn’t. It’s not just about Sarah’s case as, because there are others. You’ve just been talking about one on your program now. You know, we’ve got to find, if if these things have got to be up, if that’s the view, they gotta find a better way. Those who have decided these measures are necessary, that they’ve got to find a better way to deal with with the heart here. I mean, I’ve dealt with many premiers on many, many different issues all the time. I’ve dealt with the Queensland premier on other issues. Sadly, today, I didn’t have the influence that I would hope to have. But Sarah doesn’t get today back.
The incident has inflamed tensions over the border closure. The Queensland election is in about 50 days, so it is not going to get any easier.
We’ll bring you all the day’s events, as they play out. You have Amy Remeikis with you for most of the day. And all of the coffee.