Aussie PM Prepared to Quarantine for Queensland State Election

Aussie PM Prepared to Quarantine for Queensland State Election
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg sits as he listens to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speak in the House of Representatives during Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia on Sept. 2, 2020. (David Gray/Getty Images)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is prepared to go into 14-day hotel quarantine if he travels to Queensland during the state election campaign.

All travellers from NSW, the ACT and Victoria must go into quarantine upon arrival in the state under the government’s strict COVID-19 rules.

This means federal politicians, including the prime minister and opposition leader, will have to comply if they decide to campaign in Queensland ahead of the Oct. 31 election.

While Morrison might not have time to get on the hustings, with the federal budget due on Oct. 6 and a parliamentary sitting, he’s prepared to undergo quarantine.

“Whether I was ever going to get to Queensland anyway was a sort of secondary issue. I have a federal responsibility,” the prime minister told Seven’s Sunrise program on Sept. 17.

“But I should be subject to the same rules like everybody else. I don’t think there should be double standards about these things. I think the same rules should apply.”

But the prime minister may not need to quarantine after the Queensland government indicated on Wednesday border restrictions with the ACT and NSW could be eased at the end of this month.

Morrison again called on the Queensland government to implement a fairer quarantine exemption system.

“We have to deal with the virus, not let the virus destroy the way we live,” he said.

Compassionate quarantine exemptions have become a potent issue in the run-up to the state election.

The LNP has branded Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk “heartless”, while the government has accused the opposition of using family tragedies for political gain.

Last week, a case involving a quarantining Canberra woman who was denied permission to attend her father’s funeral rose to national prominence after Morrison tried to intervene.

The woman was eventually allowed to view her father’s body in private after the funeral, while dressed in full personal protective equipment.

The woman’s step-sister later wrote an open letter criticising Morrison’s involvement, saying he had whipped up a “media storm” to further his “political agenda”.

By Marty Silk