The Liberal Senator said tourism-reliant businesses in Queensland had been left “in the dark” yet again due to the Palaszczuk Government’s failure to provide certainty on COVID restrictions.
Under the roadmap Queenslanders will be allowed to enter the state and quarantine from home by November 19 and the state will reopen to all vaccinated Australians on December 17.
In an interview with Sky News Australia Ms Stoker argued the roadmap outlined by Ms Palaszczuk does not provide the “certainty” and “clarity” needed by business to move forward.
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As COVID-19 cases fall and vaccination rates rise, Ms Stoker questioned whether Queensland’s COVID-19 approach was “proportionate” to the threat.
“It’s good to see the arguments that people like me have been making in recent times about all the restrictions that are being put in place in WA, Queensland and elsewhere,” she said.
Ms Stoker said if the restrictions were “no longer proportionate to the nature of the threat” then they “represent an unconstitutional breach” of section 92.
“So it’s really good to see citizens and the businesses they run start to drive some accountability to complement that which is being pushed from the federal level,” she said.
“These things are most compelling when they are drawn from the community simply because that is the way that you show the real harm that is being done.
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“It’s very difficult as a government to demonstrate the nature of the harm that is necessary to win that proportionality argument.”
But Ms Stoker said the federal government was committed to “driving that accountability” through National Cabinet and other public channels.
“We’re (the federal government) holding up our end of the deal, that was struck with Australians through the national plan and every premier signed up to it,” she said.
“Those who want to change the goal posts after the fact or play games, political or otherwise, with the livelihoods and freedoms and ability of families to get on with their lives should be held harshly accountable”.
It comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed increasing frustration with rebel states like Western Australia and Queensland withdrawing their support from the national plan.
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“Once you hit that 80 per cent threshold, there is a scientifically-backed in proposition which says that you can take the next step,” Mr Morrison said at press conference on Monday.
“You’re actually putting a price on Australians when you continue to put heavy restrictions on your economy, once you hit 80 per cent vaccination rates.”
These comments were echoed by Ms Stoker who said the federal government needed to hold states who were “refusing to engage with the evidence” to account.
“We can keep telling it like it is. Making sure that those state governments that refuse to engage with the evidence that shows there is no greater risk to public health to public health in circumstances where we’ve hit 80 per cent vaccination levels,” she said.
“Those are facts and so we need to, as political servants of the people, make sure that we hold state governments to account on that front.”
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Ms Stoker said businesses should be able to make the most of what should be their prime time of the year but instead were plagued by uncertainties.
“As we go into the last six weeks before Christmas, what should be the peak of the retail and tourism time of year, none of those businesses have the certainty they need,” she said.
“They are told that the state government has a plan but the reality is they get no clarity on what the arrangements will be.
“There’s no certainty about the border, there’s no certainty about whether the state government intends to propose draconian separations like we’ve seen for some other states.”
This comes as projections indicate Queensland will fall short of its 80 per cent vaccine deadline set to be achieved by December 17.

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