Premier bursts bubble on post-election Blues

QUEENSLAND Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, the message is clear – open your borders to boost your own economy, and to show NSW the overdue respect it deserves.

While eight million New South Welshman and five million Queenslanders will take great interest in your anticipated announcement on Friday as to what extent you lift border restrictions from November 1, there is perhaps no region feeling more downtrodden and victimised by your political games than the Clarence Valley.

But unfortunately – given the convenient coincidence of being the day before an election – your decisions will lie primarily not on our plight but on what gives you the best chance of being re-elected, and that may just be to keep the borders locked and the cotton wool over the eyes of your voters and their false sense of security while the blood supply to your economy continues to run dry.

Fortunately, on this side of the fence, our economy is one of the best-placed in the world to survive this pandemic, thanks in large part to the state leadership we’ve been blessed with. But that doesn’t help the countless Clarence Valley residents who still can’t receive the medical attention they require, visit sick and dying loved ones, attend weddings, or attend funerals of brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and children in our closest capital city.

Anyone from the Grafton postcode 2460 remains a pariah to Queensland, representatives of a COVID hotspot, despite less cases and a better tracing system than the Sunshine State itself.

This week NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian visited several North Coast communities recovering from the Black Summer bushfires.

It started at Rappville, in the border bubble council of Richmond Valley. Next stop was Nymboida, in the ‘exclusion zone’ of Clarence Valley.

I asked her what it was like to be in the bubble, for we were yet to experience the privilege.

“I hope the community appreciates how frustrated I felt on all of your behalf,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“The number of people here who have said to me they miss seeing their relatives, miss getting services.

“We’ve done very well with our cases here in NSW. This region I don’t think has had a case since March, so there’s really no reason for it.

“I’m hoping after Saturday the Queensland Government will see sense and make sure that they’re fair to all Australians, because it’s hurting them as much as it’s hurting our communities here.”

This week was a proud moment for NSW, as we hosted 40,000 people in a grandstand to celebrate the grand final of the sport who wrote the rule book on how to get it done in a pandemic. You did too – but you had to hijack a whole sport, make countless exceptions to the rule and piss off a lot of people in the process. You also an Olympic bid to think about.

But the fact we achieved it should tell you one thing – we are more like Queensland in this pandemic than Victoria, so please treat us as such.

“I think it demonstrates that our communities have come together to be COVID-safe,” Ms Berejiklian said. “And we want to maintain that because unfortunately we’re going to have to live with the pandemic for a while.

“We’re trying to encourage the other states to push as much as we can to find that steady state. How can we all live COVID-safe in a really sensible way without burdening people, without hampering their ability to keep their jobs or employ people or just get about their lives.”

So who knows what you will say today. As Ms Berejiklian told Ben Fordham on 2GB radio: “Your guess is as good as mine, but I think it’s rather cute that it’s happening the day before her election.”

Next Wednesday night, I will never have cheered so loud, with so much voracity and passion, when the star-studded Blues trample all over what is shaping up to be the worst Maroons side ever, indicative of their current ‘leader’. Go the Blues!

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