The tit-for-tat war of words between Gladys Berejiklian and Annastacia Palaszcuk has continued, with the New South Wales premier accusing her Queensland counterpart of ‘making up’ reasons to keep the border closed.
Despite both states recording no new COVID-19 in the past fortnight, the border that divides Australia’s two north-eastern states remains shut.
Over recent weeks Australia’s only two female state leaders have gone head-to-head in public, with Ms Berejiklian adamant the border should reopen – while Ms Palasczuk refuses to budge, claiming it is still too much of a risk.
Incredibly, despite the enormous outbreak that gripped the state in the middle of the year, Victoria will reopen to New South Wales residents from 12.01am on Monday.
At a press conference on the Victoria and NSW border on Sunday, Ms Berejiklian was asked when she believed her state’s border would reopen to Queensland – providing her another opportunity to take a shot at Ms Palaszcuk.
The tit-for-tat war of words between Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) and Annastacia Palaszcuk has continued, with the New South Wales premier accusing her Queensland counterpart of ‘making up’ reasons to keep the border closed
Over recent weeks Australia’s only two female state leaders have gone head-to-head in public, with Ms Berejiklian adamant the border should reopen – while Ms Palasczuk (pictured) refuses to budge, claiming it is still too much of a risk
‘I just don’t even understand how they make their decisions up there. It’s beyond my level of understanding. I really don’t get it,’ she said.
‘Look, with all due respect, I don’t understand the decision-making up there.
‘They’re making up stuff as they go. They keep changing the rules, they keep espousing advice I have never heard of.’
Under the current rules people from regional NSW can travel freely into Queensland.
Initially Ms Palaszcuk had planned to open the border on November 1, requiring that there were no community transmitted cases for 28 consecutive days in Sydney.
But a small number of cases in the days leading up to the planned reopening led the Queensland government to backflip.
This move – on the eve of the Queensland state election won by Ms Palaszcuk – came much to the anger of her NSW counterpart.
However the tension between the pair went to a new level in the lead up to the rugby league state of origin series.
Ms Berejiklian revealed she sent Ms Palaszcuk a text saying she would like to discuss the potential border reopening, but it went unanswered.
A reply only came after Queensland narrowly won game one of the series and made no reference to Ms Berejiklian’s previous message.
In happier times: Ms Berejiklian and Ms Palaszcuk enjoy a laugh at a national meeting in 2018
Initially Ms Palaszcuk had planned to open the border on November 1, but a small number of cases in the lead up to that date saw her backflip (Pictured is the border checkpoint on March 26, 2020)
When NSW won game two in the series Ms Berejiklian refused to engage in the state banter.
Ms Berejiklian previously revealed a message exchange where Ms Palaszcuk refused to talk about the potential border reopening (above)
She told media that there was too much ‘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 common-sense way,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
‘There was absolutely no health advice which says that NSW poses a danger to anybody.’
The Queensland tourism industry normally rakes in $3 billion annually from NSW.
But despite the seriousness of the matter and the impact on tourism businesses, Ms Palaszcuk has continued to joke about the matter.
After Queensland clinched the series on Wednesday she asked for input on what her next gloating text message to Ms Berejiklian should say.
‘I’m asking Queenslanders what should I text the NSW Premier,’ Ms Palaszczuk said.
‘I’ll be looking forward to hearing your comments and the best one I’ll be sending.
‘So please send those options to me as soon as possible.’