Queensland Premier Offends Indian Diaspora
abhilash david | On 27, Sep 2021
Queensland’s Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, of Polish descent, offended the Indian diaspora with a stinging comment recently as she sarcastically questioned who would want to travel to India ‘at this time’. The comments followed criticism of her refusal to open the state’s borders to travel, including international travel, this year. The Premier has been dogged with criticism of late despite her insistence that ‘all is well’ in Queensland. In reality, thousands are out of work, businesses are folding, and the state is drowning in debt. According to the Budget, Queensland’s debt will reach a staggering $116billion by June 2023.
The Federation of Indian Communities of Queensland’s president, Shyam Das, has criticised the Premier for singling out India at a time when mental health within the Indian community is declining. Many yearn to travel home to bury loved ones or to see their families. Adding support, the Australian South Asia Forum said her comments are uncalled for. While a spokesperson attempted to row back by explaining that the comments were generic to international travel, the comments did not appear to be generic. Many believe Palaszczuk should be more in tune with immigrants given her own background.
For those stranded in Queensland, Constitutional lawyer Professor Kim Rubenstein said anyone negatively affected by the states’ refusal to open borders should take legal action and exert their freedom under Section 92. Whether anyone dares to do this remains to be seen. No doubt it would add to Palaszczuk’s growing woes.