While thousands of Australians remain stranded overseas and even more are restricted from visiting loved ones, some of our politicians, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, seem to be operating under a different set of rules.
Now, following the announcement that Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk intends to travel to Tokyo for the Olympics this month, thousands of frustrated Aussies have branded her a “hypocrite”, petitioning the government to deny her travel rights.
Following news that Palaszczuk lodged a travel exemption in order to fly to Tokyo as part of a bid to secure the 2032 Olympics for Brisbane, thousands of people took to the internet to sign an online petition to stop her from leaving the country.
The Change.org petition has already amassed more than 27,000 signatures, and demands that the premier lead by example, and not “steal precious hotel quarantine space from a more deserving stranded Australian”.
The petition highlights the premier’s continual support for a reduction in hotel quarantine caps in Australia, and calls for her to increase the state’s quarantine capacity.
“The people of Australia believe the Queensland Government should lead by example,” the petition states. “We hereby petition for Annastacia Palaszczuk to be DENIED the right to leave Australia at this time until she increases hotel quarantine capacity to such an extent that she will not take up a space that could have gone to a stranded Australian.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk should not be allowed to steal a precious hotel quarantine space from a more deserving stranded Australian trying to return home. DENY her the ability to do so.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk has successfully advocated for a brutal and heartless halving of Australian quarantine spaces, making it even more difficult for stranded Australians to return home.”
Thousands of people shared their reasons for signing the petition, with many either stuck in Australia or one of the thousands stranded overseas.
“I can’t go see my mum,” one woman wrote. “She can’t come and see her grandkids but Anastasia should be allowed to travel over to watch some Olympic Games, sightsee and be a tourist in Japan. Really?”
While another said, “Deny my human right to travel freely, yet the pollies do? Nah mate, this is un-Australian! Shame on them.”
“It is an absolute disgrace [that] she has denied relatives to be with their loved ones in their final hours of life yet she has the audacity to want to travel to see a sporting event!!!” another commented.
“You’re a hypocrite. One rule for you and another for everyone else,” one person wrote.
Palaszczuk made the announcement that she intended on going to the Tokyo Olympics while on the ABC’s Q+A program last week, stating that she had received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine in order to travel. She said the trip would be an important step in securing the Olympics for Brisbane in 2032, which would secure billions for the state economy.
“This is a very important meeting and it is expected by the International Olympic Committee that a federal representative, the Premier and the Lord Mayor of Brisbane attend to present in front of the International Olympic Committee,” she said. “It’s worth about $14 billion and I would hope, by 2032, we would be back to a normal society of freedom — it would create over 100,000 jobs.”