Qantas boss Alan Joyce convinces three premiers to support an end to state border closures by April and international travel by late October – but the rest are tougher nuts to crack
- Alan Joyce wants national framework on border closures and international travel
- Dan Andrews, Gladys Berejiklian and Steven Marshall, South Australia support it
- However, all but Ms Berejiklian would not rule out border bans completely
- Issue be debated at National Cabinet on Friday with Scott Morrison in support
Qantas boss Alan Joyce has convinced three premiers to support his plea to end state border closures for good next month.
Mr Joyce has also made progress on an agreement for international travel to be allowed again by the end of October when the Covid vaccine rollout ends.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and his counterparts Gladys Berejiklian in NSW and Steven Marshall have agreed to support his push for a national framework.
This would create an Australia-wide standard aimed at keeping domestic borders open from early April when four million have received the jab.
Qantas boss Alan Joyce has convinced three premiers to support his plea to end state border closures for good next month
State premiers will debate the issue with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who openly wants national border agreements, at Friday’s National Cabinet meeting.
‘We have a few premiers that have said they’re going to raise it at national cabinet and try and come out with an agreement. At what point is more up to debate,’ Mr Joyce told the Australian Financial Review.
Mr Joyce said on Thursday he expected international travel, without quarantine, to begin at the end of October, as Qantas revealed its half-year results on Thursday.
Mr Andrews said he met with Mr Joyce on Wednesday and discussed what was needed to give Australians ‘greater certainty’.
‘I gave him an absolute commitment. There were three or four things he raised, and I have given him a commitment on each of those [that] I would be supportive of a framework,’ he said.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews agreed to support his push for a national framework
Mr Marshall also met with Mr Joyce last week in talks that were described as constructive and generally supportive.
However, both men said they reserved the right to slam borders shut again if medical advice recommended it.
State premiers have been accused of using lockdowns and border bans to improve their polling, even if medical advice did not require it.
Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan’s government was caught polling voters weekly for what they thought about his eight-month hard border and other measures, but denied that it drove his decision making.
Ms Berejiklian has vowed not to close state borders, which Mr Joyce commended her for.
Gladys Berejiklian has vowed not to close state borders, which Mr Joyce commended her for
Mr McGowan and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk are expected to be tougher nuts for Mr Joyce to crack but there is hope that after their elections they will be more open to compromise.
WA goes to the polls on March 13 and is certain to win in a landslide.
Top public servants are working on a proposed set of national standards for life after the vaccine is rolled out.
‘Hopefully we can have a nationally consistent approach to that, but it just stands to reason, as you get your front-line workforce starting to move through the vaccination program… the risk is deemed lower and there are more things you can do,’ Mr Andrews said.