Senator calls NSW residents ‘Mexicans’
Queensland Nationals Senator Matt Canavan has classed all NSW residents as 'Mexicans" during a discussion on opening the Sunshine State's tightly held borders to New Zealand.
Senator Canavan, based in Rockhampton in central Queensland, was being quizzed on the Nine Network's Today show on Wednesday about whether New Zealanders should be permitted to travel to Queensland.
New Zealand's Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said on Tuesday that a trans-Tasman travel bubble could be here "much, much sooner" than Christmas.
The Palaszczuk Government on Thursday will open its borders to more northern NSW residents.
Under the easing of restriction from October 1, Queensland will extend its COVID-19 line of demarcation as far south as Casino, Lismore and Glen Innes, with free movement between states for those residents providing they have a border declaration pass.
Mr Canavan told Today presenter Allison Langdon he could see no reason why Queensland should not open to New Zealand where COVID-19 has been largely contained.
Instead of referring to NSW residents as cockroaches, the affectionate name Queenslanders use to rib the state during State of Origin rugby league series, Senator Canavan used the controversial term 'Mexicans' which refers to people south of the Tweed River border.
"I think it should have happened yesterday, Ally," Mr Canavan said.
"How is New Zealand any different from most Australian states? They don't have coronavirus.
"They've got strict border controls. I'm happy for Kiwis to come back.
"We're starting to get Mexicans back up here in Queensland, let's take them as well because our tourism industry is booming up here in Central Queensland.
"We'd love to have more people visit."
The reopening of the border comes as the ADF controversially withdraws personnel from manning the Queensland border.
Ahead of the border softening from 1am on Thursday, Gold Coast police chief superintendent Mark Wheeler urged motorists to be patient, with delays expected for the long weekend.
He said 15 extra police would replace the 60 defence force members withdrawing from the border.
The border relaxation will come during school holidays and ahead of the October long weekend with police randomly checking cars, even if they have a border pass displayed, at the Queensland border with NSW.
He said SES, rural fire service and Department of Main Roads and Transport will assist police.
Originally published as Senator calls NSW residents 'Mexicans'