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Defending her hard border stance in a press conference this morning, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has criticised the Federal Government’s plan to restart international travel by sarcastically asking reporters: “Where are you going to go? Are you going to go to India?”
Understandably, her insensitive comments have left members of the Indian-Australian community, many of whom lost family and friends in the devastating Delta wave in India earlier this year, upset and offended. (At the time, she had also voiced her support on halting flights from India, even for Australian citizens and residents.)
The Premier also singled out Japan, stating “In Tokyo, you have to sit in Perspex screens with masks on and if you remove your mask you can’t talk while you’re chewing.”
The state has reported no new cases today and the Premier insisted that opening up state borders would mean a step backwards.
“If we get a Delta outbreak here, we’ll all be in lockdown and no business will be operating. Do you want that?” she added.
It didn’t take long for social media users to point out that reopening international borders isn’t simply for vacations, but a way to unite loved ones after nearly 2 years of border closures. Many called for the Premier to publicly apologise for her harsh statements.
My mum’s family moved from Bangalore to Brisbane in the 1980s. Queensland has had a growing Indian community for decades. That’s who might want to go to India. https://t.co/QuAFTtFpIn
— Kishor (@kishor_nr) September 23, 2021
Actually yes, my family and I would love to go to India to see our relatives who we haven’t seen in over two years now. Thousands of people of colour just like us have been separated from our loved ones for too long. The QLD Premier should apologise
— Néha Madhok 🏳️🌈 (@MadhokNeha) September 24, 2021
Annastacia Palaszczuk *Pauline Hanson voice* “where are ya gonna go, India?”
— Aidan Catt (@AidanC1867) September 24, 2021
i’m sure some of the more than 600,000 Australians of Indian descent or heritage, many of whom live in Queensland, would probably like to go to India and see family members after suffering so much. how tone deaf https://t.co/HI7d3jwcas
— ashley (@ash_suth_) September 24, 2021
I can’t believe how callous Anastacia Palaszczuk is about borders. It’s not about tourism and happy snaps, it’s about reuniting families after two years apart pic.twitter.com/fYg6hA3LUx
— Rob Stott (@Rob_Stott) September 23, 2021
I bet the thousands of nurses and doctors who are originally from India who are working hard to help other Queenslanders and make their health system robust in the event of a generalised outbreak would love to see their family again, for a start. pic.twitter.com/1UZw17EcS5
— Dr Neela Janakiramanan (@NeelaJan) September 23, 2021
There are around 700,000 Indian Australians, probably many more. No doubt many of them are desperate to return to family. Many of them have family that died in the past year and haven’t been able to return for funerals. Of course people want to go to many places, including India.
— Dominic Meagher (@dom_ma) September 24, 2021
30% of Australia’s population were born overseas and many more have familial ties abroad, yet the Qld Premier dismisses concerns of those who’d like to eventually see family in favour of racist dog whistles about India and misunderstandings of Japanese social etiquette. Great! https://t.co/gvz6QOb0Py
— Andrew Nissen (@theandrewnissen) September 23, 2021
This really got under my skin and no doubt the 2.8% of Australians with links to India.
Assume Annastacia isn’t aware but there are already different rules for Australian’s seeking exemption to travel to India (and PNG). https://t.co/SrAb2cQNrD
— Amanda Basu (@ABasuNV) September 24, 2021
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