ALLYSON Horn has an opinion piece this morning at ABC Online in which she argues Annastacia Palaszczuk will reap political dividends by keeping Queensland closed – largely because of the Sunshine State’s traditional hostility to bossy southerners. Death, disease and science don’t get much of a look-in, apart from a boilerplate reference to the Premier’s reliance on “medical advice.” The impartiality of that advice can be guessed at: CHO Jeannette Young gave convenient ‘advice’ on a quadrennial local council election, then school closures she later confessed were merely symbolic. Nobody believes Young is inclined to proffer advice at variance with the electoral strategy of the Labor government.
Horn’s is an old-fashioned take on the border brawl and one rooted more in mythology than historicity anyway. It evokes the Bjelke-Petersen era of 1968-1987 when the Country/National Party stoked loathing for Canberra or Sydney when it was considered useful. Every state and territory leader has played the same game since 1901. It only worked at the psephological margins of country and regional Queensland, not so much in the south-east corner. That’s why Sir Joh needed a gerrymander to win.
Now the reverse is true: the lockdown has hard support in the big smoke – with its army of Labor-loyal public servants and teetering-on-Greens NPCs – but is either a vague irrelevance or a red hot commercial hindrance in the bush and provincial cities. Horn goes on to describe Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington’s openness to openness, border-wise, as “party politics returning” and a betrayal of “unity politics.” That’s right after the ABC’s state political reporter hailed Palaszczuk as the new divide-and-conquer Joh. As Hendo himself might ask, can you bear it? For the record, I don’t believe for a moment the Premier will persist with a closed border until September. This is a two-phased operation: lockdown jingoism for now, a royal gifting of liberation closer to polling day.