The Nationals Senator appeared on First Edition on Tuesday morning after a plane carrying 100 wives, girlfriends, children and officials of NRL stars touched down in Brisbane on Monday afternoon to begin two weeks of self-isolation.
The arrival swiftly sparked controversy as it came during the Ms Palaszczuk’s two-week pause on interstate hotspot arrivals into the state’s “overwhelmed” hotel quarantine amid outbreaks of the highly contagious Delta strain in both New South Wales and Victoria.
Sky News host Peter Stefanovic referred to the special exemption, asking Senator Canavan, “Is that another reminder that we’re not in all of this together?”
Senator Matt Canavan is seen with Annastacia Palaszczuk in 2016. Picture: Wesley Monts
The Senator replied: “I think the Queensland government has won the double-standard award for the double-standard Logie for this coronavirus outbreak, this is not their first rodeo.”
“I do not begrudge NRL players being reunited with their family members. It must be very tough for them spending months away in a high-pressure environment that professional sport is.
“But this goes to show that last week’s so-called concocted hotel shortage was just a media stunt.
“There are plenty of hotels in Queensland. There are plenty of vacant hotels on the Gold Coast and Cairns because of the border closures, they could be used.”
Thousands of Queenslanders ‘very angry’ over NRL exemption
Senator Canavan claimed the reason the Premier announced the immediate pause on interstate arrivals last week was “so she could set a media strategy” to unveil plans to build a quarantine facility in Toowoomba, “which she had no federal support for”.
Ms Palaszczuk on Thursday announced the regional facility would be built under a joint agreement between the Palaszczuk Government and the landowner, Wagner Corporation.
“It was a complete and utter concocted theatre that we’re used to from the Queensland government,” Senator Canavan said.
The Senator also spoke to the YouGov survey, which was conducted exclusively for News Corp Australia, in his interview with Stefanvoic.
Passengers from Newcastle wait to be taken into hotel quarantine after arriving at Brisbane airport on Wednesday, following Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s announcement of an immediate pause on interstate hotspot arrivals into Queensland’s hotel quarantine. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
The poll found that a majority of Australians were less worried about catching COVID-19 than losing their jobs, business closures and the impact on their children’s education.
“I think this poll shows clearly that the lockdown premiers are out of touch, they’re out of touch with the Australian people, their own voters, they’re not talking to people,” Senator Canavan said.
He said goals to maintain a “COVID-19 zero” society are “stupid”.
“Of course we would prefer not to have COVID, that’s not even a debate,” Senator Canavan said.
NRL exemption ‘makes a mockery’ of the ‘deep harm’ caused by border restrictions
“It was great when we didn’t have COVID, we were very lucky and we could be free and do whatever we liked but we have to live in the real world.
“Particularly for those of us in positions of authority, we have to level with people and govern from the real world.
“There’s no point being the Premier of Disneyland, you’ve got to be the Premier of Queensland or the Premier of Western Australia.”
The NRL season is being completed in Queensland due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is seen at a COVID-19 press conference. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Last week, Ms Palaszczuk said no one would be able to enter the Sunshine State from midday on Wednesday August 25 for a period of two weeks except for those with exemptions including for compassionate reasons because “out hotels are full”.
“This is about keeping Queenslanders safe,” the Premier said.
“Queensland is being loved to death.
“We have been overwhelmed by new arrivals from interstate hotspots relocating to Queensland to escape lockdowns in New South Wales and Victoria.
“While we have allowed genuine relocations for work and other purposes, it has overwhelmed our hotels and it has to be stopped at least for the next fortnight.”
Palaszczuk government grants special exemption for NRL families

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