Premiers must explain border closures: PM

Daniel McCulloch
(Australian Associated Press)

 

Scott Morrison has challenged the Liberal premiers in Tasmania and South Australia to justify keeping their borders closed, as Pauline Hanson threatened to take the Queensland government to court.

The prime minister has previously limited his criticism to Labor leaders in Queensland and Western Australia but has now broadened his scope.

“The expert medical advice at a national level never recommended internal borders within Australia and it’s not good for the economy, particularly as we go into this next school holiday season,” he told Sky News on Wednesday.

“Tourism businesses need that support.

“So those individual states, they’ll have to justify those decisions themselves because it wasn’t something that came out of national cabinet.”

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has called on states with closed borders to release their scientific advice.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian reiterated on Wednesday she would like the NSW-Queensland border to reopen.

“We have invited everybody from Australia to move freely through NSW from June 1,” she said.

“If you live in Tweed or northern NSW and you have relatives or services you access on the other side of the border, it has been very difficult for them.”

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has demanded Queensland’s Labor government reopen the state’s borders by 4pm on Thursday, or face legal action in the High Court.

“I couldn’t let this rest. Annastacia Palaszczuk is actually destroying people’s lives, their livelihoods and businesses, and they can’t go on,” Senator Hanson said.

The state government has previously dismissed the legal threat, saying it has to balance the timing of the reopening of the borders with medical advice.

Meanwhile, senior Australian medical officials have met with their New Zealand counterparts to discuss a trans-Tasman “bubble” allowing safe travel between the two countries.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said advice was now being prepared for Australia’s national cabinet and the New Zealand government.

The advice would not be ready for Friday’s national cabinet meeting, he added.

“I think it is certainly feasible to do so in the not-too-distant future.”

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