The Queensland Premier has continued to defend her upcoming trip to the Tokyo Olympics despite growing outrage about her decision to leave the country in the middle of an outbreak.
Annastacia Palaszczuk has lodged a travel exemption so she can fly to Tokyo this month as part of a bid to secure the 2032 Olympics for Brisbane.
However, more than 27,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for the exemption to be denied as Australians continue to be banned from travelling overseas and many remain stranded overseas trying desperately to get home.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
“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,” the petition reads.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk recently stated her intent to take a space up in hotel quarantine on her return from the Tokyo Olympics.
“The people of Australia believe the Queensland Government should lead by example. 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.”
Ms Palaszczuk was pressed about the issue by reporters on Tuesday and continued to defend her decision to leave.
“As I said the other day, clearly, if we are in a situation with a lockdown, I won’t be able to attend but the delegation is the Federal Sports Minister, the Premier and the Lord Mayor,” the Premier said.
“It has been made very clear by John Coates (Head of the AOC) that it would be a disaster if the head of Queensland did not go.
“I think it is very important that we have that really strong representation of Federal, State and Local because even Thomas Bach, the head of the Olympic Committee, has said the strongest thing going for our bid is the enormous cooperation of all three levels of Government.”
Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick was even called in to spruik the importance of the Premier’s visit.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity for Queensland,” Mr Dick said.
“The boost to infrastructure, the opportunity to showcase our state to the world as a destination for a holiday and also as a destination for investment.
“Those sorts of things cannot be underestimated.
“We can see the finish line but we’re not there yet and we just can’t afford to stumble at the last hurdle which is exactly why Queensland needs to be represented at the meeting of the International Olympic Committee in Tokyo in July.”