There is something wrong with a government using Covid-19 restrictions to send undercover police to crack down on country pubs while turning a blind eye to an anti-police protest in Brisbane.
In this Labor State Government’s pantheon of public relations failures, this has to be among the worst.
Not only were the Brisbane protests anti-police, they were in flagrant breach of virus protocols Annastacia Palaszczuk insisted were there for our own protection.
While Queenslanders have every right to feel insulted, how insulted must police have felt to be abandoned by a State Government who didn’t see a problem allowing thousands of people to breach restrictions so they could scream how racist our officers supposedly are?
Then just to really torpedo the image of police, they send the Flying Squad out west – where there are zero Covid cases – to throw the book at struggling pubs hoping to survive the Covid crisis.
This is a State Government whose priorities are all wrong and it should be held to account.
Under Labor, police are allowed to be openly mocked in Brisbane, and country publicans are treated like criminals.
This situation is beyond parody: there is one rule for Brisbane-based activists, and another for people in the West desperately trying to save their livelihoods.
The owner of the Federal Hotel in Wallumbilla about 400km west of Brisbane, was fined for not covering the pool table and leaving two empty stubbies out after working 16 hours straight. It should be noted that the publicly listed population of Wallumbilla is 388.
When I last visited, there was no international airport, no cruise ship terminal and no busloads of tourists flocking to the town.
This crackdown is symptomatic of a State Government that has no idea, no common sense and no compassion – unless you want to risk spreading a serious virus to gather and scream “F… the police”.
Police Minister Mark Ryan should immediately waive these fines and apologise. Not just to the publicans, but also to the officers who have had to endure a public relations nightmare under his watch.