Qld Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk fires up at reporters questioning tough border stance

Alex DruceNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

A fiery clash between Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and journalists dominated Thursday’s coronavirus press conference, with the sunshine state’s tough border stance again under scrutiny.

Peppered with questions about Qld’s reopening and whether the state’s strategy was in line with the national plan to open at an 80 per cent vaccination rate, Ms Palaszczuk snapped at the press pack, pointing to her record on keeping the coronavirus out.

Journalists were accused of not being “across the issues” when the Premier was pressed for detail and Ms Palaszczuk said agitation “coming from Canberra” was a key reason for the criticism she had faced as she bit back at each question.

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Camera IconThe new Qld community case was female student at St Thomas More College who has been in isolation. Liam Kidston Credit: News Corp Australia

“Let me say, say this, if we get a Delta outbreak here, we’ll all be in lockdown and no business is really operating,” Ms Palaszczuk told a reporter.

“Do you want that? Do you want that?”

“I don’t understand these constant criticism of Queensland doing well. I will always stand up for this state, I am sick of being attacked for Queensland doing a great job, and Queenslanders doing a great job.”

Ms Palaszczuk has been quick to shut the border and enforce localised lockdowns to keep the state largely virus-free, with a strict hotel quarantine regime also credited with preventing a Delta surge such as that seen in NSW and Victoria.

But Queensland’s hard line border stance has also faced criticism – particularly from the federal coalition government and state opposition – while the state’s tourism sector has also called for clarity on the vaccination target needed to reopen.

Ms Palaszczuk has so far refused to commit to a timeline for opening the state’s borders while demanding updated modelling from the federal government on the potential impact to unvaccinated children under the national plan to reopen the country.

Media referencing the national plan at Thursday’s press conference drew a sharp reply from Ms Palaszczuk, who repeated that the plan was a federal government responsibility.

“Everyone talks about the national plan, there’s the national plan for you right there, I’ll give you a copy,” Ms Palaszczuk told a journalist who asked about it.

Then, to The Australian’s Lydia Lynch: “I haven‘t got the papers Lydia! Go and ask the federal government for the papers!”

Ms Palaszczuk stressed on Thursday that Qld currently enjoyed more freedoms than NSW and Victorian residents will at 80 per cent vaccination rates.

“In Victoria, at 80 per cent, they will be allowed 30 people to visit for Christmas dinner. Here, Queenslanders can have 100 people over,” she said.

“I’m sick of constantly being attacked for doing the right thing.”

Earlier on Thursday, the RMIT ABC Fact Check division found comments made by Ms Palaszczuk on Doherty Institute modelling and death rates to be misleading.

Ms Palaszczuk told parliament this month that even with 70 per cent of the population vaccinated “80 people will die each day from Covid once the outbreak reaches six months after it started. That is 2,240 who will die each month.”

Fact Check reported that Ms Palaszczuk had selected an “extreme” estimate with lower probability, and not the central estimate in the modelling.

Queensland currently has more than 61 per cent of eligible residents with a first dose and 42 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Thursday’s testy press conference came after the state reported one new locally acquired case of Covid-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.

The new community case – a female student at St Thomas More College – is a close contact of another pupil who had been infected in the Sunnybank outbreak. The new case has been in home isolation.

Chief health officer Jeannette Young expressed her gratitude to the girl’s family and said it showed how important it was to abide by quarantine rules.

“She actually tested positive day nine in home quarantine had been in home quarantine for her entire infectious period, so this just shows yet again how important it is that when people are asked to go into quarantine, they need to remain in quarantine for 14 days,” Dr Young said.

Ms Palaszczuk on Thursday also announced there was one new case that arrived in hotel quarantine in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.

Thursday’s presser came as footy fans were being enticed to pop-up clinics in Brisbane on Thursday and Friday, with 3000 double passes to the weekend’s NRL preliminary finals at Suncorp Stadium up for grabs if they get the jab.

Meanwhile, police reported 10,000 vehicles had crossed Queensland’s borders in the past 24 hours, with 220 turned around.

There were 424 people processed at the state’s airport borders, with six people refused entry.

Originally published as Qld Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk fires up at reporters questioning tough border stance

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