Border wars: Premier ‘no idea what she’s doing’

 

 

PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk has no idea how much Queensland's tourism industry is suffering while the state's border is closed, according to a business owner challenging the state's lockdown in the High Court.

Retail Services Group owner Sue Jeffreys told The Courier-Mail it appeared the Queensland Government was "pulling numbers out of … their a**es" to justify the continued shut down but it was destroying business.

"The impact Annastacia Palaszczuk's having on businesses, I don't think she has any idea what she's doing," she said.

She said Ms Palaszczuk might understand how businesses felt if she didn't get paid for six months.

A spokesman for Ms Palaszczuk did not directly address the pending High Court challenges yesterday but said the Premier had been "clear that she understands the hurt and impact restrictions are having on people".

"The Premier wants to get people back to work as quickly as possible but doing so without appropriate attention paid to health concerns including community transmission in southern states could cripple industry for years," he said.

Retail Services Group is one of five plaintiffs taking the fight over Queensland's border closures to the nation's highest court, labelling the restrictions "irrational" and unconstitutional.

The linen-hire company's director Paul Jeffrey is a separate litigant and is joined by the parent companies of Mt Ommaney travel agency Travel Essence and Reefinity Adventures, which run a charter service on the Great Barrier Reef.

Both say they have suffered financial hardship as a result of the border closures.

The fifth, and most surprising challenger to the border closures, is high-profile Sydney criminal lawyer and former Palmer United Party candidate Zali Burrows, who previously acted for former deputy Auburn mayor Salim Mehajer.

Ms Burrows argues in the documents the border closures have impeded on her travel to Queensland for "recreational and social purposes".

A Writ of Summons was lodged in the High Court of Australia on Tuesday against Queensland Chief Health officer Jeannette Young and Assistant Crown Solicitor Rob Hutchings.

The border renegades argue the travel restrictions are inconsistent with free trade provisions of the Australian Constitution because they unlawfully stop the passage between the states and territories.

The border challengers also claim the restriction is not "necessary" or "reasonably appropriate" to stop the spread of COVID-19.

It also discriminates between residents of Queensland and residents of other states and territories, it is argued.

"The border movement ban is irrational. It purports to prohibit that which has already occurred i.e. it prohibits a person who has arrived in Queensland from entering in Queensland," court documents say, adding there is no precise time slated for lifting the closure.

The writ of summons also suggests a number of "obvious compelling alternatives" to closing the border including "confining the border movement ban so that it did not apply to individuals who had been diagnosed as not having COVID-19 …"

It also suggested confining the ban only to states or territories that had returned COVID-19 cases in the past 28 days.

The group is seeking a declaration that the border closures are invalid.

Ms Burrows seeks an additional declaration that the ban is invalid "in so far as it prohibits the fifth plaintiff from travelling to Queensland for recreational and social purposes".

Originally published as Border wars: Premier 'no idea what she's doing'


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