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McGowan responds as Joyce again compares WA to North Korea

written by Hannah Dowling | February 23, 2022

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan has responded after Qantas boss Alan Joyce again likened his state to North Korea, as Western Australia’s hard border is set to drop.

McGowan has finally announced that his state will drop quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated interstate and international travellers on 3 March, with anyone aged 16 and over also required to have had their booster shot before entering.

Border restrictions were initially planned to lift on 5 February, however, McGowan announced that this date would be pushed back due to the Omicron outbreak in the eastern states.

Speaking on Sunrise earlier this week, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce again criticised McGowan’s decision to delay the border reopening by less than four weeks.


“I don’t know what the extra month has given us in Perth,” he said.

“We were planned, ready and organised to open up on February 5 and now we are struggling to meet March 3 because we have people on leave that we asked to take leave and it’s a very disorderly opening.

“We will put the capacity on, but it could have been done a lot better than this and it’s disappointing.”

Joyce did ultimately welcome the decision to ease border restrictions and compared WA to North Korea for the second time.

“Finally, our country’s reunited. We are no longer North Korea and South Korea,” he said.

“We have one country again.”

The WA Premier later responded to the comment, calling it “a bit over the top” and an “unfair comparison”.

“I don’t really get it,” Premier McGowan said. “(WA has) the most successful economy in the world, the greatest freedoms of anywhere in Australia for the last two years (and) virtually no one getting sick or passing away.

“Comparing us to North Korea, I think, might be a bit over the top.

“A repressive dictatorship that murders hundreds of thousands of people compared with a successful democracy, full of freedoms and the best economy in the world.

“I think that’s an unfair comparison.”

However, McGowan also stated that comments like Joyce’s “just comes with the job”.

“People are always going to attack you and criticise,” he said.

It marks the second time this month that Joyce has referred to the western state as akin to North Korea.

Earlier this month, Australian Aviation reported that Joyce had told Melbourne’s 3AW radio station that Australians should feel “outraged” that many citizens can fly to London but not Perth.

“There’s not even a plan to open up. It’s going to be closed indefinitely at this stage unless we have a plan to start living with COVID and opening up the whole country,” Joyce said at the time.

“We’re supposed to be all Australians and you can’t even travel around your own country.”

From 12:01am on 3 March, triple-dosed travellers will be free to enter WA from interstate, however, will need to register for a Good 2 Go (G2G) pass prior to travel.

Travellers will need to undertake a rapid antigen test within 12 hours of arrival and report any positive result and isolate as per current public health orders.

International arrivals will continue to only be required to have two doses of a recognised COVID-19 vaccine, as per Federal requirements.

International travellers will also require a G2G pass and undertake a rapid antigen test within 12 hours of arrival.

All international arrivals into the state will be provided with one rapid antigen test upon arrival.

Unvaccinated international arrivals will still be required to complete two weeks hotel quarantine upon arrival.

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Comments (8)

  • Wayne


    Surely Mr McGowan is not as stupid as he is ignorant. Mr Joyce is not referring to the State’s economies, or to any murders within W.A. He is merely referring to the state’s greatest lack of freedoms to both residents and visitors, and its dictator style of current leadership.

  • Ken Olsson


    Wayne his comments were aimed at McGowan point blank, since when should a CEO tell a Premier on how to run a state. Especially when that CEO defies Court Orders to reinstate the 2500 ground staff or what he has done to many staff in the name of Covid when it suits him.

    • Bill O Really


      Absolutely spot on comment. Joyce would never get elected in a democratic election. McGowan has been elected by a massive majority. Joyce, as he often displays, has the people skills and perspicacity of a gnat. Bully boy with an oversized sense of his own importance. Hows that massive loss you are managing, again, Alan? Blame everyone and everything else for that, as you always do……Again.

  • Alex


    I’ve got plenty of family and friends in the UK and we have been the envy of them during the last two years. Hardly any restrictions or lockdowns. My fit and healthy friend caught COVID after only having the ability to have his first vaccination and he was “on his knees for a month”. Thanks Mark McGowen.

  • Rich


    Joyce is putting money before lives. News flash – the people of WA are more concerned with health than Qantas’ profits.

  • Francis


    McGowan is the best leader this country has had during this pandemic, Wayne. I am sure he knows what he is doing.

  • Glenn


    Plenty of people have drunk the McGowan kool-aid over here in WA, but those of us who retain some critical thinking capacity can see that Joyce is right, at least on this topic. There is no logical consistency on what McGowan has done. He’s eventually bowed to the inevitable. For that he gets little credit.

  • Steve A


    Qantas is a repressive dictatorship. The Qantas CEO is the Premier of losses. Nearly 2,500 Qantas ground staff were ditched to supposedly save $100 million over a 4 year period, but instead Qantas racks up $1.3 billion of losses in 6 months. The $100 million is just one thirteenth of this figure, or one thirty-third of the money QF spent on share buy backs. But the QF CEO will once again blame everyone else

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