Press conference by Qld Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk, Covid-19 lockdown
Annastacia Palaszczuk hit back at suggestions she was guilty of “double standard” while being grilled by reporters in Tokyo.
The Premier of Queensland was celebrating Wednesday night after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed Brisbane as the host city for the 2032 Olympics, but it wasn’t all peaches and cream after the announcement.
Ms Palaszczuk has come under fire for flying overseas to run the grounds for the Olympics when so many Australians – including Queenslanders – are still affected by the lockdowns or have been so recently.
The politician was brought to the forefront at a press conference when asked about why she was willing to travel to Japan, which has a much higher number of Covid cases. 19 than in Australia, when it imposed instant lockdowns in its own state for less severe epidemics.
Journalist: “I just wanted to know why you say it’s wonderful that this event is taking place in the midst of a pandemic when Tokyo records an average of 1000 cases per day, while your approach back to Australia is to lock down Brisbane- out when there are a handful of cases – and we have already seen cases appear in this (Olympic) village.
Ms. Palaszczuk: “Well, the IOC made the decision with the Japanese government to have these games run and I think you’ve now heard how excited the athletes are to actually participate, and I think that’s going to give a lot of hope. and opportunities. across the world in the midst of a pandemic. “
A follow-up question from another reporter kept fire on Ms Palaszczuk, who was accused of “double standard” and of avoiding the question.
Journalist: “Would you really like to answer the question, both about your criticism of the lockdown you imposed in Queensland and your coming here where we see 1,000 cases a day (in Tokyo)? Where does your point of view really lie? Because I have to tell you, it seriously sounds (like) double standards. “
Ms. Palaszczuk: “It is the decision between the IOC and the Japanese government that the Olympics take place. I’m not making that decision, it’s their decision. You’re all here for the Olympics, we’re here to get the 2032 Olympics for Brisbane, which we did tonight, which is a great night of celebration and that’s something we should be focusing on.
The Prime Minister flared up after being repeatedly questioned about the exact details of his quarantine arrangement upon his return to Australia. Ms Palaszczuk reiterated that she would spend 14 days in a Queensland hotel and was upset Brisbane Mayor Adrian Schrinner and Sports Minister Richard Colbeck – both of whom traveled with her to Tokyo as part of the delegation – were not asked the same question.
“Can I just say, I am staying in a hotel, I will function as a Premier.” It’s the same for the minister and the same for the mayor, but you don’t seem to be asking them questions, ”Ms. Palaszczuk said.
“So it’s exactly the same for me as for the other two. We’re doing the mandatory 14 day quarantine when we get back, because I think everyone in this room will be doing the exact same thing. “
As part of Brisbane’s final speech on Wednesday – which included speeches by Australian Olympic Committee Chairman John Coates and Prime Minister Scott Morrison – Ms Palaszczuk made several mentions from all levels of government and all sides of politics working together to pass the candidacy.
It’s a sentiment she echoed in two post-announcement press conferences, as well as in a TV interview immediately after the decision for 2032 was formalized.
This hasn’t always been the case in Australia lately when it comes to managing the pandemic. Just three weeks ago, Ms Palaszczuk lashed out at Mr Morrison and the federal government for the Prime Minister’s comments on the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Recently, Victorian Prime Minister Dan Andrews spoke to his NSW counterpart Gladys Berejiklian about their states’ respective handling of new coronavirus outbreaks.
When asked for her answer to those who questioned why politicians could be on the same page for a sporting event but not a health crisis, Ms Palaszczuk largely dodged the question and instead explained why the Olympics would be such a boost for his condition.
“First of all, the national cabinet has worked incredibly well,” she said.
“When you walk into this room, I can tell you that now everyone wants to do their best for their state and the best for their country, and we take it incredibly seriously.
“There isn’t a time when you get these documents that you don’t sit there the night before to read it all or early the next morning to make sure you can contribute to this national cabinet meeting.
“With the Olympics, we’re talking about the biggest event in the world. This is not a picnic in a park, it is the biggest event in the world and if you want to be serious you have to involve all three levels of government.
“Because you can imagine, if the (local) council said, ‘We don’t want to do this.’ The federal government says, “I don’t want to do this”, the state says, “We are not going to do this”. But by having everyone in a room, working together and agreeing on where we want our city, state, and country to go, over the next decade I mean the opportunities. infinite …
“It puts Brisbane on the world map. It’s making sure everyone knows where Queensland is. This ensures that when we come out of this pandemic everyone will want to come and find out what our state has to offer.
“This will represent a decade of investments. It will be a catalyst for change, for opportunity. I imagine big sports teams from all over Australia will be moving their headquarters to Queensland, and I have already noticed that some Queensland banks have already said that the economic opportunity this will bring will be phenomenal.
“Everyone should be excited. Everyone. Now is the time for us to shine.