Queensland is closed. Annastacia is showing us she knows how to deliver some serious borderline discipline. It’s a show of strength – perhaps, some might say, a borderline disorder. There’s a state election around the corner (31 October) and she’s not about to let a few hundred NSW cancer patients in need of treatment soften her public displays of tough love for her Queensland constituents.
There’s been endless stories of seriously ill people who have been severely affected by the sudden border closures and the quarantining requirements. I even heard the heartbreaking story of a very ill man who had received treatment at a Queensland hospital and was made to cross into NSW to meet his wife by foot. At a local doctors surgery as many as ten doctors can no longer attend. Is that a show of strength Ms Palaszczuk?
In the previous border closure earlier this year I knew of people who were able to get border passes for a day trip to IKEA. Just a few months ago we could print a pass and return home with a flat pack. Now we have to beg for chemo. That’s nuts. We don’t even have COVID here. In Northern NSW we’ve become refugees in our own country.
We are standing at the border knocking, ‘Hey Queensland, you’ve been coming down here every weekend for years now, clogging up our roads, swimming at our beaches, enjoying our kooky hippyesque charm… we don’t want to come in for a holiday, we would like to go to hospital.’
Until COVID, borders were something that only meant something in the State of Origin. Or if someone cut you off on the highway and had a Queensland numberplate you mused it was because of their statewide merging disorder. For over half the year they’re an hour behind us because of their silly reluctance to take on daylight savings. But now the Queensland border has been sealed shut. They’re sailing into the distance. Who knows how far behind they may be once the border reopens? Will we need passports to enter?
COVID has carved Australia into a quarantine pie, it has made us separate people. It has made Queenslanders distrustful of us. And here in NSW, it has made us suspicious of Victorians. Every time we see a VIC numberplate we hit down hard on the hand sanitiser. State premiers who previously seemed a tad irrelevant in the big game of politics have become the major players. They get to play Big Daddy or Big Mummy to keep their state safe. I’m not sure what’s happened to Scott Morrison – he appears to have gone to sleep. Every time I turn the telly on, it’s not Scotty’s face I see, it’s Daniel Andrews. And I have to admit I really feel for him. He has to bring the COVID-19 outbreak under control, otherwise the rest of Australia will blame Victoria for their financial ruin. He does look very tired.
The pandemic has ugly impacts. It has made us territorial. We are one country – at least we used to be. Our lockdown has sent us to our burrows – it has made us conspiratorial and suspicious. It is causing us to lose trust. When Annastacia created a travel bubble between Queensland and NSW, she cut Mullumbimby and Byron Bay out. I doubt that was an accident with the protractor in the planning department. ‘We ran out of arc’. It’s because people from Sydney come here. It’s because we’re perceived as loose – after all we’re famous for immunising with a turmeric poultice.
So, farewell Queensland. We’ll see you on the other side. Or perhaps, we won’t.
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