‘I backed the Premier’: PM’s truce with Palaszczuk
In a surprise political courtship, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has seemingly brought to an end verbal sparring with Annastacia Palaszczuk and is backing in the Labor Premier, saying Queenslanders aren't interested in a political blue.
Finishing a campaign-like blitz through the state's regions, Mr Morrison declared Queenslanders had thrown their support behind both himself and the Premier and it was time for them to get on with their jobs.
It followed four days of criss-crossing the state's regions in a 6500km round trip, with the Prime Minister telling The Courier-Mail he was working to "maintain the faith" with the state that delivered him his "miracle" election win in 2019.
Insiders hope the new sense of co-operation could lead to greater collaboration on major infrastructure projects and planning.
While the state has the highest unemployment rate in the country and continues to battle with borders, Mr Morrison said he got along well with Ms Palaszczuk.
"We have a good working relationship, Anna and I, and I think she'd say the same thing," he said.
"That doesn't mean we agree on everything and don't occasionally exchange the odd word.
"But we want to build stuff, we want the Queensland economy to grow and we understand it's fragilities as well and we think the growth in Queensland can be stronger."
Mr Morrison said Queensland had performed well through the COVID-19 economic turndown.
"There's more to achieve in Queensland and I want to work with the Queensland Premier to achieve that," he said.
"If we can work can work constructively together with the Queensland government over the next few years, I think we can get that unemployment rate down in Queensland.
"We've got a plan, they've got a plan and we've got to synchronise that as much as we can. "Queenslanders aren't interested in the politics of the Prime Minister or the Premier, they're interested in, 'you're both there, we supported you both at the last election, so get on with it'."
Border restrictions have been one of the biggest flashpoints for Canberra-Queensland fights since the pandemic began.
Mr Morrison said he had noticed a change in the state's approach on borders.
"I really strongly backed the Premier on her three day-lockdown of Brisbane. And I know that was appreciated, we moved quickly to back her in," he said.
"But as we go into this year, you know, the hotspot approach is the way to go. And I think, you know, the way that Queensland handled initially, particularly the Sydney outbreak was very much in line with that.
"Hopefully over the course of the year, we will see more of that approach."
During Mr Morrison's Queensland sojourn, he stopped in at Longreach, Quilpie, Winton and Cloncurry, having visited the regions on his first trip as Prime Minister in August 2018 to see the impact of the drought, before heading to Cannington mine in McKinlay, Gladstone and Maryborough.
Mr Morrison said he was aware and appreciative of the strong vote in the state's regions which saw him through to what he dubbed a "miracle" election victory in 2019.
"I very much appreciate the strong response we got from Queenslanders at the last election and we've worked hard, I think, to maintain faith with that," he said.
"But here in Queensland, and particularly the further north we went, I think people really got it that we valued what they contribute to the national economy and national life."
Mr Morrison said regional Queenslanders wanted to know that their children would be able to continue to live in those regions and have a future there.
"So when you have people who have energy policies that don't respect that, then they would understandably get very nervous and very anxious," he said.
Originally published as 'I backed the Premier': PM's truce with Palaszczuk