Bombshell claim: Premier ‘will lose’ if border stays shut


Flight Centre boss Graham 'Skroo' Turner has accused Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk of playing politics with the border closure and declared she will lose the state election if it does not open on November 1.

Mr Turner slammed the lockdown as "pure politics" and said it had "nothing to do" with managing risk in his most stinging attack on the Queensland Government's border stance.

He tipped Ms Palaszczuk would be voted out if the border to New South Wales does not open on November 1.

"If it's extended almost certainly the Labor Party will lose the election," he said.

"The tide has swung over the past month … it would be purely ridiculous."

"Annastacia has a reasonable chance of winning the election if the borders open on November 1st … she'll lose if they don't."

Skroo Turner at Noosa Beach. Pic Annette Dew
Skroo Turner at Noosa Beach. Pic Annette Dew

Skroo's prediction comes as tourism leaders from across the trans-Tasman criticised border closures during a Tourism & Transport Forum virtual summit.

Qantas' Group Executive Andrew Parker referenced the movie The Castle, saying some states' border strategies were being based on the "vibe".

"There doesn't seem to be a road map or a structure on how decisions are being made," he said.

"It we have to stare into the fact you've got hard border closures into early next year, the economic consequences are really serious.

"It is not only a disaster for the Queensland economy and the tourism operators."

Mr Parker said there would be setbacks, but said it was safe to reopen the economy.

"No state, territory or country is going to be able to have an open economy without some degree of risk," he said.

"We deal with risk every day.

"We wouldn't fly a single aircraft if our policy was zero risk."

He said there was a one in 27 million chance of contracting COVID on an aircraft.


‘Skroo’ Turner says Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will lose the election if borders don’t open on November 1. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
‘Skroo’ Turner says Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will lose the election if borders don’t open on November 1. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled


Mr Parker said a reciprocal travel partnership should be struck between Queensland and New Zealand, and said work should start to plan how and when international borders would reopen.

Auckland Airport International CEO Adrian Littlewood said there was still "quite a degree of anxiety and fear about the virus", with the borders tagged as a "gateway to fear".

"Aviation generally is a system that manages risk … we manage that with our partners in a sophisticated way," he said.

Skroo also compared Victoria's lockdowns to those in the "Communist dictatorship" of China, and said a national strategy had not worked.

"The national cabinet has been an abject failure, as have widespread hard lockdowns," he said.

"There's no scientific evidence I've seen that it's worked."

Flight Centre's revenue hit $26m this month, well down on the $250m pre-COVID.

Hilton Australasia Operations Vice President Heidi Kunkel said about 50 per cent of hotels would remain closed until the end of the year.

"We've got hotels in Cairns who are suffering," she said.

"We've got owners who invested millions of dollars in their hotels, but now we need to have certainty to give people clarity.

"We need to have borders open."


Originally published as Bombshell claim: Premier 'will lose' if border stays shut