Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has surprisingly reignited the state versus federal government border row by demanding all states open up, Australian Aviation can reveal.
The argument had seemingly cooled after Queensland and SA pledged to open last week, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison adding that he never claimed there would be 100 per cent agreement across the nation on the topic.
But Deputy PM McCormack intervened on Friday morning in comments unreported by other media outlets.
“Border closures are costing jobs and hurting economies, so with no national medical advice supporting domestic border closures and today’s additional safety assurance for domestic travel, we need all states and territories to open their borders,” he said.
Last week, both SA and Queensland confirmed their borders will open in July, after a meeting of the new national cabinet.
Queensland set a 10 July date to open, which was seen as particularly surprising given Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk earlier hinted her state would remain closed until September, triggering a tit-for-tat spat with NSW counterpart Gladys Berejiklian.
On 8 May, all state leaders agreed to open their borders by the end of July, but this was thrown into doubt by a number of rows and arguments afterwards.
It culminated in Premier Berejiklian calling Queensland’s September proposal “ridiculous” before her Queensland counterpart responded that she would not be “lectured to” on the issue.
Last week though the row appeared to ease when Prime Minister Morrison downplayed WA’s reluctance to name a date, saying that he never claimed there would be 100 per cent agreement across the nation on the topic.
“The Premier in Western Australia will make the arguments that containing the borders of Western Australia has enabled them to move – they are effectively in step three now with the exception of that one item [borders],” he said.