Katter willing to risk virus to protect North Queenslanders
BOB Katter has taken to the skies to call on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to isolate North Queensland and protect the region from the coronavirus pandemic.
Dressed in high-vis, with a hard hat in the "right shape" and a stop sign, the 74-year-old was ready to take on Ms Palaszczuk to protect North Queenslanders.
To hammer it home, the Kennedy MP paid for a plane to fly around Brisbane with the words "Premier, isolate North QLD now!".
He was even willing to "go down" with COVID-19 if it meant proving the "border", which he considers from Mackay to Hughenden and then to Mount Isa, should be closed.
"I've been described as the toughest bastard ever born and I think that is pretty right," Mr Katter said.
"I'm trying desperately in trying to keep that 1.5m rule, but someone has got to go down then let me be the first."
Mr Katter said after two weeks of campaigning, he had finally joined the public push because the people of North Queensland deserved to be protected.
"We are a demographic island," he said. "We are surrounded by 320km of nothingness, you might call it a wasteland.
"There is just six highways running into North Queensland. All we have to do is put on a hard hat, grab a stop sign and protect North Queensland.
"The only cases we have had up here have come from southern Queensland."
Katter's Australian Party is not the only group pushing for the closure of the NQ border. Many highly-respected Townsville doctors joined the campaign last week, saying the region could not cope with an outbreak.
But Chief Health Officer Dr Jeanette Young said the State Government was already doing enough to protect North Queensland.
Speaking in Townsville, Dr Young said closing the "borders" at the front of people's houses and between states was enough to protect North Queensland.
"Everywhere in Queensland is no essentially isolated from everywhere else," she said.
"We've closed, due to the Commonwealths work, the international border into Queensland, except for Queenslanders returning home. We've also closed our land borders and our air borders to other states.
"After the weekend work done by our national cabinet, we've essentially put that border at the front door of everyone's house."
Dr Young said while the large majority of people were self-isolating, there were still many people not following directives.
"We have a very strong communication plan that is being laid out, and you will start seeing those thought TV, radio and written media to get all of those messages out," she said.
"It's more important for the whole community that everyone in the community understands.
"Saying to someone, are you awake of what the messaging is?"
Dr Young said North Queenslanders were "pretty good" at adhering to messages during a cyclone and she hoped this would be the same.
The Premier said yesterday (tues) people needed to "calm down" about closing a border that did not exist.
"There is no north border, we are one state," Ms Palaszczuk said. "What we have done is we have protected the most vulnerable in our community, those remote indigenous communities."
Originally published as Katter: I'm willing to risk COVID-19 to protect North Queenslanders