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The New South Wales health minister, Brad Hazzard, claims he has evidence that the Queensland premier is playing “political games” with her state’s hard southern border, but has refused to give details.
Asked on Radio National on Friday why it was wrong for Annastacia Palaszczuk to protect Queenslanders by imposing strict requirements on NSW contact tracing for Covid-19 cases, Hazzard said: “If that were the only reason that would be entirely appropriate.
“But it’s not the reason. The reason is that she just decided that she’s in an election phase, and she is playing games basically with the rest of the community.”
Asked what evidence he had for the claim, the minister replied: “I have the evidence, we’re not going to share that. But there’s no doubt about it, it is a political exercise.”
Hazzard refused to provide any further explanation when pushed by the presenter, Hamish Macdonald.
“It is a political agenda. It’s as simple as that. I’m not going to go into how or why I know that, but I do know that,” he said.
“The date she keeps mentioning is the date straight after the election. Why would it go straight after the election? Well, there is only one reason, because she’s focused entirely on the political outcomes. She believes it’s a political advantage to her.
“This is a completely reprehensible, uncaring and cruel approach by the Queensland premier. I haven’t criticised any other premier or any other minister during the country during this because we’ve all worked together. Premier Palaszczuk – it is about time she woke up to the fact that politics and looking after patients and families don’t mix. Just cut it out.”
Palaszczuk has repeatedly stated that NSW must go 28 days without community transmission before Queensland will relax restrictions on its southern border, a threshold the NSW premier has labelled as unrealistic.
When NSW recorded three mystery cases on Wednesday, Queensland gave authorities 48 hours to link the infection to a known outbreak, otherwise the 28-day count would start afresh. Hazzard said this timeline was not based on health advice.
“That has never been imposed by anybody throughout the entire country. So that’s another plucked non-evidence-based decision for the premier,” he said.
“I deal with families every day who are asking for exemptions. We have exemption arrangements in New South Wales that are worked out on the right balance of care and caution, but also compassion. And I think what we’re seeing up in Queensland now is a lack of compassion and driven by a political agenda.”
Palaszczuk’s office has been contacted for comment.
She has maintained throughout that she is acting solely on the medical advice of her chief health officer, Dr Jeannette Young.
On Friday NSW recorded five new locally acquired infections and 10 cases in total.
Queensland recorded no new cases on Thursday.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: NSW minister says he has evidence of Queensland premier’s ‘political agenda’ on Covid response | New South Wales