Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews has fired back heated words at the Queensland Premier over the issue of Australia's borders, saying Annastacia Palaszczuk is trying to create a “distraction from their own quarantine failures”.
Just hours earlier, Ms Palaszczuk took aim at Prime Minister Scott Morrison, calling on him to reduce international arrivals to stop coronavirus outbreaks.
"We are at a pressure cooker moment," Ms Palaszczuk told reporters in Brisbane.
"There are a large number of people that are travelling overseas for business, for a whole range of reasons, and there are questions that need to be answered about why they are not vaccinated leaving and also if people are coming to Australia, why are they not getting their vaccinations?
"Because it is overseas arrivals that are bringing this Delta virus into our state."
In a fiery response, Ms Andrews held her own press conference on Wednesday afternoon and didn’t hold back when it came to her thoughts on the Queensland premier and her team.
“Quite frankly, what Premier Palaszczuk and her deputy, Stephen Miles, are doing is trying to create a distraction from their own quarantine failures,” she said, laying blame for the outbreak in southeast Queensland and parts of northern Queensland on the Palaszczuk Government.
A 19-year-old health care worker who was in the community for 10 days before being diagnosed with the Delta strain was found to be unvaccinated — which Ms Andrews labelled a “failure” of the premier.
“When they have their own failure that they can't manage, they are very quick to jump up and down, try to blame the Commonwealth Government and then demand that borders be down or that caps be reduced,” Ms Andrews continued.
“Queenslanders can see these claims for exactly what they are, they don't stack up, they are a smokescreen, and quite frankly the premier needs to get on with managing the state.”
Ms Andrews said weekly caps of about 1000 passengers entering Queensland and 3000 coming to NSW were not large.
Ms Palaszczuk argued lower caps, ensuring arrivals are fully vaccinated and putting quarantine centres in regional areas will reduce the need to shut cities down.
Ms Andrews disputed suggestions half the people entering the country were not Australian.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said the vast majority of people granted exemptions to travel overseas for work and study should not have been allowed to leave.
"They should stay home while there is a pandemic running wild around the world," he told reporters in Perth.
Official border force figures show 80 per cent are citizens, permanent residents or immediate family members.
Backlash erupts over PM's vaccine advice
Mr Morrison’s endorsement of the AstraZeneca vaccine for under 40s sparked diverse reactions from state premiers and members of parliament.
Ms Palaszczuk spoke out against the prime minister’s advice on Wednesday morning, urging Queenslanders not to listen to him.
While she said no-one under 60 should receive an AstraZeneca vaccine, her WA counterpart, Mr McGowan said no-one under 40 should have the jab.
Ms Andrews addressed the issue at her press conference, defending the prime minister’s remarks.
“The prime minister was very clear, and I'm also being very clear as well,” she said
“We are saying you need to speak to your doctor, you need to make an informed decision and if you consent you wish to take the AstraZeneca vaccination, it is available for you to do so."
Following Mr Morrison’s advice on Monday night, thousands of Australians under 60 have booked in for AstraZeneca jabs with their GP.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who has had two doses of AstraZeneca, agreed people should decide based on advice from their GP.
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