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In just a few short hours we will find which way John Barilaro will go after Gladys Berejiklian issued her Coalition partner an ultimatum – in, or out?
Barilaro effectively pulled the Nationals out of the coalition in NSW yesterday, over environmental laws designed to protect koalas. Apparently the ability to kill koalas is one of the hills Barilaro is prepared to die on. He declared the Nationals would sit on the crossbench, abstain from government bills, except for those related to regional NSW, and break away from joint-party room and leadership meetings.
Which is cool, but he also wants to retain all the Nationals cabinet positions.
Berejiklian has said yeah-nah.
The NSW premier has given the Nationals until 9am to either get back in the tent, or accept they’ll be on the crossbench with all that entails – including giving up their ministries.
That would plunge Berejiklian into a hung parliament, but she’s not blinking.
Barilaro was on Sky last night talking compromise.
This won’t be about backing down. I can hit a pause button for a second. At some point in the next two or three weeks, we have to confront the issue about the koala habitats. We have tried our hardest, what gives me confidence, but I’m not going to blow up the government. I’m not going to walk away from our ministerial responsibilities. When we’re at the table, the regions win.
We’ll keep you up to date on that. We’ll also keep you up to date on all the Covid news, which includes the border wars.
The Queensland border closure has been an ongoing flashpoint, but the closure to the ACT, which has not had a case for two months, has been a particular sore point.
That all came to ahead when Sarah Caisip, a Queensland woman, who moved to the ACT for work, was unable to attend her father’s funeral, because of quarantine restrictions.
Scott Morrison made an emotional plea to allow the woman to attend the funeral. In the end, Sarah was allowed a private viewing of her father, which she was escorted to, by police, and attended wearing full PPE gear.
The state’s chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young, said she was sorry, but she was trying to stay two weeks ahead and funerals often included vulnerable people, so there was a blanket rule.
In the Queensland parliament, Annastacia Palaszczuk said the decision was not for her to make, but for her CHO, and accused the prime minister of attempting to “bully” her.
Morrison said it was time for premiers to start showing compassion. He had a chat to Sky last night too:
I’ve seen the images of when she went to see her dad and there’ve been some shocking days during the course of this pandemic. And today was, today just hurt. And it wasn’t. It’s not just about Sarah’s case as, because there are others. You’ve just been talking about one on your program now. You know, we’ve got to find, if if these things have got to be up, if that’s the view, they gotta find a better way. Those who have decided these measures are necessary, that they’ve got to find a better way to deal with with the heart here. I mean, I’ve dealt with many premiers on many, many different issues all the time. I’ve dealt with the Queensland premier on other issues. Sadly, today, I didn’t have the influence that I would hope to have. But Sarah doesn’t get today back.
The incident has inflamed tensions over the border closure. The Queensland election is in about 50 days, so it is not going to get any easier.
We’ll bring you all the day’s events, as they play out. You have Amy Remeikis with you for most of the day. And all of the coffee.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Coronavirus Australia live update: NSW Coalition in crisis as Covid-19 border row intensifies – latest news | Australia news