Scott Morrison has fired back over the issue of border closures while on the state election campaign trail on Saturday.
The Prime Minister suggested Queensland’s border with NSW was being kept shut longer than “absolutely necessary” and accused Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk of boasting about the closure.
His comments come a day after Labor leader Mr Albanese accused him of hypocrisy over his stance on borders.
“You would only have borders in for as long as you absolutely have to have them,” Mr Morrison said.
“They are not something, I suppose, to boast of; they are things that are necessary, but are regrettably necessary in many occasions.
“So when you have to have them, well, let’s have them based on medical advice and for only as long as you absolutely have to because the longer they are there, the more they do stop jobs.”
Mr Morrison also called for Queensland to ensure quarantine rules were clear and consistent.
He confirmed that he had followed the rules and spent the previous fortnight in the ACT before travelling to the Sunshine State.
“I noticed that the leader of the Opposition Anthony Albanese didn’t spend 14 days maybe, and it’s not so clear for him to come up here,” Mr Morrison quipped.
Mr Albanese yesterday said while the Prime Minister criticises Labor-run states like Queensland and WA he hasn’t said anything about Tasmania, which has a Liberal government.
“If you look at Queensland’s economy, as well as Western Australia’s, it is a fact that the economies that have been doing the best during this difficult period are ones that have made difficult decisions,” the Labor leader told ABC radio on Friday.
“Tasmania’s border, they announced a long time ago now, would be closed until the first of December … and we haven’t heard one word of criticism by anyone from the Liberal and National parties about that.”
Queensland is in the lead-up to its October 31 election, with the Labor government saying it will open the border in November, depending on how many locally acquired cases NSW has.
The Prime Minister’s attack echoed the sentiments of NSW health minister Brad Hazzard, who accused Ms Palaszczuk of playing politics over the issue of borders as the election approaches.
The Sunshine State had worries of its own on Saturday, with wastewater testing in Townsville picking up traces of COVID-19 after the city had been clear of the virus for weeks.