Prime Minister Scott Morrison is set to pull the plug on his election campaign for the Liberal National Party in Queensland.
Mr Morrison will return to Sydney, an area classified as a COVID-19 hotspot by Queensland health authorities, for national cabinet on Friday.
The Prime Minister’s return to Sydney means he will have to spend 14 days in the ACT if he wants to return to the Sunshine State.
That would allow him to return to Queensland no sooner than a day before the state election on October 31.
“We’ll go a bit further north before the end of the week,” Mr Morrison told Rockhampton radio 4RO on Wednesday.
“We’ve got national cabinet on later in the week so I’ll have to return to Sydney for that at the end of the week.”
“It’s been great to move through the area, and it’s particularly good to be here with [federal MP] Michelle Landry. She really is an amazing local member.”
Mr Morrison did not join state LNP leader Deb Frecklington, who is on the campaign trail in Whitsunday, on Wednesday morning.
It’s his fourth day in the state and the third day that he hasn’t hit the hustings with Ms Frecklington.
However, Mr Morrison and Mr Frecklington did reportedly attend a $1500-a-head luncheon together in Brisbane on Tuesday. The Prime Minister was reportedly again targeted by protesters, angry about refugees held in a Brisbane hotel.
That followed an ugly confrontation at the University of Queensland on Monday, where Mr Morrison was abused and chased after being bundled into a waiting police vehicle. His official car was also splashed with red paint.
Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has so far avoided going to Queensland to campaign alongside Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Ms Frecklington will be keen to change the focus of her campaign after spending Tuesday answering questions about her attendances at fundraising dinners involving property developers.
She had to repeatedly deny receiving donations from developers, which is illegal in Queensland.
Mr Morrison also revived his criticism of Queensland’s border closure, claiming there was “double standard” about exemptions.
He also spoke of the toll the border closure has taken on the state’s tourism sector.
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show only 600 short-term visitors arrived in Queensland in August, down 99.7 per cent from August 2019.
Most visitors to Queensland are from New Zealand, making the travel bubble involving NZ, NSW and the Northern Territory tantalising for tourism businesses. The first flights under the bubble arrangements will land on October 16.
“Protecting health does come at a cost and the cost has been very severe for the tourism industry and they should only be there as long as they absolutely have to – that will always be my view,” Mr Morrison said.
“That’s a judgment for the [state] government and they’ve got to weigh all that up, and get that right, and apply it without having double standards.”
Ms Palaszczuk will start Wednesday campaigning in Gladstone.
She’s hitting the hustings in the safe Labor seat held by Glenn Butcher on a margin of 20.7 per cent.