Palaszczuk cares more about footy than borders, says Berejiklian

written by Adam Thorn | November 5, 2020
Qantas Airways Airbus A330-202 VH-EBL on finals for Runway 16Right Sydney
Qantas Airways Airbus A330-202 VH-EBL on finals for Runway 16Right Sydney, 2019 (Lee Gatland)

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has seemingly accused her Queensland counterpart of caring more about the result of the State of Origin game than opening borders, in the latest barb in their now six-month-long spat.

Premier Berejiklian said she sent a text to Annastacia Palaszczuk to congratulate her on winning the state election and to talk borders but didn’t receive a reply until days later after the result of the iconic rugby league game.

“She replied ‘Queenslander, great game’ or something to that effect,” Premier Berejiklian said today. “She didn’t mention borders or thanks for the congratulations. I didn’t know whether to be shocked or bemused frankly.”

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The pair’s rivalry goes back to the Autumn when Premier Palaszczuk said was reluctant to drop restrictions to travellers coming from NSW. Queensland finally opened up to NSW on 10 July but closed again to Sydney on 1 August and then to all of NSW and the ACT a week later. The state announced on Friday it was to open up to regional areas of NSW but those from Greater Sydney would remain banned, with another review not due for a month.

“I’m worried about jobs and people not seeing their families and she just rubbed in the fact that Queensland won the game … that’s fine,” said Premier Berejiklian.

“I don’t want to make light of the situation, because yes we all have fun in sport, but the reality is that people are suffering because the border is there and we’re doing everything we can.”

The rivalry between NSW and Queensland comes despite NSW declaring it was to become the first state to open up to Victoria on 23 November.

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Earlier on Thursday, Australian Aviation reported that Qantas and Jetstar will increase the number of flights per week between Victoria and NSW from just 10 to 250 when the border opens.

The new services, across five routes, will return the business to 40 per cent pre-pandemic capacity and mean more employees can return to work.

Currently, the Qantas Group is only operating flights between Sydney and Melbourne but later this month that will include services to and from Ballina Byron Bay, Mildura, Newcastle and Bendigo.

Andrew David, chief executive of the group’s domestic and international operations, said the news was great for business and getting people back to work.

Pre-COVID, Melbourne-Sydney was the busiest air route in Australia and the second busiest in the world,” said David. “On a busy day, Qantas and Jetstar would operate more than 100 flights per day between New South Wales and Victoria. During the lockdown, our schedule reduced to as low as one flight a day.”

6 Comments

  • Russell M

    says:

    I seriously hope once things settle down post covid, borders are open again and aircraft are flying once more, that this publication, which I’ve subscribed to for 30+ years, will return to being an aviation based publication. If I want political and right-wing biased “news and reporting”, there’s plenty of options provided by Uncle Rupert.

    Whilst I recognise (and appreciate Adam’s reply to my last similar post) that there’s a lot of politics and stuff going on with closed borders and that is hugely impacting the aviation business in Australia, I really don’t think an aviation magazine needs to delve down to “footy v borders” type stories and headlines. My opinion only, my subscription due date coming up in February I think.

    • Adam Thorn

      says:

      Hi Russell,

      In normal times, we wouldn’t be sullying ourselves with a petty row between politicians. But I would say domestic border closures are the biggest issue to affect Australian aviation, well, maybe ever. I agree the squabbling is pathetic, but it’s also fair to say the politics and arguments play a role in when borders open. How much of this is down to the science? How much of this is down to politics? Possibly, shouldn’t Gladys also rise above the arguing, too? I’m quite apolitical, personally, and also try to report things neutrally.

      Hope that explains my thinking and thanks for your comment. I appreciate all feedback, good and bad. And if you are a long-time subscriber, we have a fantastic interview with Gordon Reid next issue, which I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

      Thanks,

      Adam

  • ahdgfh

    says:

    What do the personal comments or text messages of state Premiers have to do with Australian Aviation? Is this a political news website?

  • Russell M

    says:

    Hi Adam – a big thanks for your response again and explaining your point of view. I’m glad to see you saying “sullying” as that’s a really good term, and I guess that’s what I’m feeling at the moment. Your response, thank you, has definitely swung my point of view and has made me feel a bit better about the magazine and the future once things settle down. And yup, a long enough subscriber to have visited the home-office in (mmm, Chapman or Stirling….was a while ago) in Canberra to pay my first subscription and pick up the first book I bought. Quite a while back. 🙂
    Thanks for taking the time to reply, I do appreciate it.

    • Adam Thorn

      says:

      No problem! Thanks for your feedback Russell.

  • I agree with Adam, we need to understand the factors that are causing the aviation industry in this country to be so severely (and, I would argue, unnecessarily) impacted.

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