Annastacia Palaszczuk has wished her arch-rival Gladys Berejiklian the best — and set the record straight on their famously frosty relationship.
Ms Berejiklian resigned Friday afternoon after nearly five years as Prime Minister of New South Wales
“I wish Gladys Berejiklian all the best for the future,” the Queensland Prime Minister said in a statement.
“Contrary to some public comments, I have always respected Gladys and found her good company.”
The two leaders (pictured) discuss their responses to the Covid pandemic since the lockdowns began in March last year and a series of border closures between NSW and Queensland that have wreaked havoc on local people.
Ms Palaszczuk went on to say that Ms Berejiklian’s ascent to the top track in 2017 was a ‘major achievement for women everywhere’.
The pair’s frosty relationship was exposed when a series of icy text messages were released in June.
The talks were released on the basis of a Right To Information request and appear to show the breakdown in civilian communications between the two leaders.
What started out as warm and friendly texts between the pair in January 2020 after the devastating bushfires have since descended to one-word “thx” comments.
The two leaders have been haggling over the response to Covid since the start of the pandemic, with a series of border closures between NSW and Queensland devastating residents of both states.
Text messages between state prime ministers Gladys Berejiklian and Annastacia Palaszczuk started warmly, as seen in this April 2020 exchange (left). But tensions over the border closures between New South Wales and Queensland cut communication into increasingly shorter texts, such as this exchange, pictured right, on November 5, 2020
Ms Berejiklian has expressed frustration at Queensland’s repeated exclusion of its southern neighbour, but Ms Palaszczuk is equally determined to defend her cautious approach.
The text messages — some of which were censored before being released for containing personal or irrelevant information — repeatedly reveal Ms. Berejikian’s first name misspelled, with only one N instead of two, and two S’s.
The couple exchanged 20 messages between January 2020 and March 18, 2021, nine of which were redacted, according to the Daily Telegram.
They will begin on January 3, 2020, when Ms Palaszczuk texted her NSW counterpart to help respond to the wildfires that hit the south coast of NSW.
“If there’s anything else we can do to help, let me know. Cheers annastacia,” she texted.
Ms Berejiklian replied: ‘Thank you Anastasia[sic]. Much appreciated. We are as prepared as possible for tomorrow. Victoria I am too [sic} very bad shape. Take care and stay in touch.’
As the Covid crisis began to spread out across the world from Wuhan in China’s Hubei province, the pair swapped notes on January 31.
‘I have written to the PM about more info on arrivals from Hubei province FYI,’ texted Ms Palaszczuk ‘Hope you are going OK. Tough year for bushfires. Kind regards annastacia.’
Ms Berejiklian replied: ‘Thanks for letting me know Anastacia [sic]. We hope the worst of the season is behind us…”
When the nation went into lockdown in March and Australia began holding national cabinet meetings with all state leaders, Ms Palaszczuk reached out to Ms Berejiklian again as the couple shared their concerns about the impact of the pandemic.
“Hello, I just wanted to touch on the basics and hope you’re okay. I think everyone works well together. I agree that it’s hard not to see our families. Cheers annastacia,” she wrote on April 7, 2020.
Gladys Berejiklian (left) has expressed frustration at repeatedly shutting out Queensland’s southern neighbour, but Annastacia Palaszczuk (right) is equally determined to defend her cautious approach
The Prime Minister of NSW replied, her name spelled correctly for the only time during the exchanges: ‘Thank you Annastacia. Kind of you to send the message. It’s comforting to know we’re all going through this together.’
In the course of the winter, however, tensions began to become apparent. While NSW handled local cluster outbreaks without shutting down, Queensland responded by closing the border to NSW residents.
Ms Berejiklian snapped in one text: “All I’ve had are questions from the media about statements you and your colleagues have made at the border.”
And on September 22, 2020, Ms Berejiklian sent another short message: ‘Hi Anastasia [sic] [redacted] My health minister has already been in contact with yours. Thanks again.’
The NSW Prime Minister was warmer in November after Ms Palaszczuk returned to power in the Queensland state elections, but border closures were still not good.
“Hi Anastasia” [sic]’ she wrote on Nov. ‘Congratulations on your election’ [sic] to win. I can imagine how difficult that was during a pandemic! I hope we can work together to get our border open, regards Gladys.’
But she was ghosted by her counterpart and the message didn’t get a response until four days later after Queensland snatched the NRL State of Origin opener 18-14 at Adelaide Oval.
Ms Palaszczuk simply rejoiced at a message: “Queenslander. Great game.’
The NSW Prime Minister angered the press at the time: ‘She didn’t mention boundaries or thank you for the congratulations. I didn’t know whether to be shocked or stunned, to be honest.’
It would be three months of bitter fighting between the two states before the border would reopen, with the NSW Prime Minister being notified of the decision for just 30 minutes.
We are happy to open again for all of NSW [sic] on February 1 [sic]. I will be holding a press conference in 30 minutes,” the Queensland Prime Minister texted on January 28.
The Prime Minister of NSW responded in one word: ‘Thx’.
Despite the chilly lyrics, Ms. Palaszczuk insists the couple are still friendly in real life.
“She will always stand up for her state, I will stand up for my state,” the Queensland Prime Minister said in February.
“Everyone is trying to portray it as some kind of fight and it just isn’t. It just isn’t. I think it’s overreporting, we get along really well behind the scenes.’
On Tuesday, her office told the Daily Mail Australia: “The Prime Minister has a good working relationship with all Prime Ministers. They are all focused on the severe COVID situation and keeping their states safe.
Daily Mail Australia has also contacted the NSW Premier for comment.
In a text message to her NSW counterpart, Queensland Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured) simply delighted in a message: ‘Queenslander. great game’