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South Australia has reopened to everyone but Victoria and New South Wales — and the Premiers are blowing up about it

Jack Derwin
  • South Australia has opened its borders to Western Australia, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory and is considering adding Queensland to the list.
  • It would mean interstate visitors from those states could arrive without undergoing a 14-day quarantine.
  • New South Wales and Victoria quickly fired back, with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews questioning why anyone would even go to South Australia in the first place.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia's homepage for more stories.

A surprising dispute over state borders threatens to tear apart Australia's National Cabinet, or at least their egos.

On Wednesday South Australian Premier Steven Marshall announced his state would reopen to all Australians unless yours happens to be called New South Wales or Victoria.

From midnight, residents from Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory will all be able to enter SA without undergoing a 14-day quarantine. Queensland could also soon be added to the list.

Having spent weeks working together in the newly-formed National Cabinet to coordinate Australia's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the move did not go down well with the policy's two major exemptions New South Wales and Victoria, which unlike others, never shut their domestic borders.

"None of this makes sense to me," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters, despite New South Wales and Victoria having had far more COVID-19 cases than other states.

Certainly, that hadn't seemed to phase Queensland when it revealed this week it could create a travel bubble with New South Wales at the exclusion, again, of Victoria.

Perhaps it was this isolationism, or the political scandal that has plagued his government this week, but Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was not having it.

"I don't want to be offensive to South Australians but why would you want to go there?" he said, boasting the best bits of the country were in Victoria anyway.

"Stay-at-home, don't get too stressed they won't let you into Adelaide, why would you want to stay there?"

It's unclear whether or not Andrews realised the kind of political firestorm his jab was about to set off.

A little over an hour later, Marshall had returned fire with a video that appears to be part-SA tourism campaign, part-state political banter.

https://twitter.com/marshall_steven/status/1273060024357490688

The war of words emerged just days after the Prime Minister boasted of how the nation had pulled together during COVID-19, a sentiment quickly losing its shine as state premiers appear at each others' throats.

It wasn't just state leaders getting in on the fun, however. Clearly understanding how the electorate operates, inter-party loyalty was quickly dumped as South Australian Labor Leader Peter Malinauskas also piled on with some tenous claims of his own.

https://twitter.com/PMalinauskasMP/status/1273058788375818240

If Adem Somyurek, the powerful Victorian Labor party powerbroker, hadn't just been deposed amid branch stacking allegations, it might have almost been the biggest party scandal this week.

Alas, the country will just have to wait until the next National Cabinet meeting to see some more state fireworks.