Pen pals not happy campers

Remember way, way back in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 when federal and state governments were bending over backwards to give the impression that they were all very, very busy working together in the public interest to tackle the existential threat.

Of course that bipartisan love-in didn’t last too long and now we see daily open political warfare among the previously cooperative federal and state governments with the feds in particular copping stick for its handling of the two major task it had to do – the national vaccine roll-out and the aged-care sector.

If you want proof you just needed to read an “exclusive” story that appeared last night in the online version of News Crap Australia’s Brisbane turdbloid The Courier-Mail about a proposal by the Morrison Government for a new quarantine camp near Brisbane Airport. (pictured right)

The concept has been the subject of a fair bit of argument and point-scoring between the PM and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk after a plan was floated by the Toowoomba-based Wagner family to build such a camp near their privately owned Brisbane West Airport at Wellcamp.

Last night’s story was clearly the PM’s effort to seize the initiative by dropping it out of the blue into the laps of Courier-Mail readers in an effort to outflank the Premier.

Why do we suggest that?

Well, the Courier’s online story last night said: “The surprise offer came in a letter to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Thursday night, and has the potential to end the bitter stalemate over the Wellcamp proposal at Toowoomba.”

Yes, a letter to the Premier on Thursday night. That’s last night. That’s the same night the Courier ran the “exclusive” story – at 9.47pm to be precise. (pictured left)

When one of our 24/7 MGH monitoring teams read it last night we just knew it would lead today’s print edition of The Courier-Mail this morning.

And guess what? Well, you know how this story ends because you’ve seen it so often. (main picture)

Both the online and hard-copy versions of the story said: “A spokesman for the Premier confirmed she had received the correspondence and will consider the contents of the letter.”

Our MGH staff guessed she might have received it at, oh, perhaps 9.46pm? Probably no earlier.

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The quarantine camp yarn shows some traditions live on in the face of a national pandemic.

Yep, we reckon all Australians can rely on a continuation of the tried and true practice of the Morrison Government giving News Crap Australia outlets “exclusives” on condition they get a front-page run in what are essentially Coalition how-to-vote cards.

Although we do question the “exclusive” tag, given that this morning ABC Radio News was also running the story after having “obtained” the PM’s Thursday night letter to the Premier.

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 Of course the PM’s surprise move not only helps him seize the initiative in the argument over quarantine facilities (with News Crap Australia’s active support), it also means he can stick the facility in a Labor seat – Wayne Swan’s old electorate of Lilley – and not spark any arguments in the Toowoomba-based seat of Groom, held by the LNP.

Some old timers on levels six and eight in the Media Glass House wing of The Bug’s headquarters recall a local protest movement led by Mr Swan at the time the Howard Government wanted to use what they recall as the same site for a refugee processing centre at the height of the “stop the boats” era.

So we’ll be watching what his successor says and does if and when she also gets a letter from Mr Morrison.