RIP Mum: Lockdown hypocrisy just got personal
As political rallies go, it was one of the better ones, with live music, fireworks, television coverage and a wildly enthusiastic crowd of tens of thousands.
The venue was the Gabba and the event was the AFL Grand Final, presided over by an empress-like Annastacia Palaszczuk smiling benignly from the grandstand as a conga line of players and officials read from their cue cards and thanked the Queensland Government for allowing them to play footy in the Sunshine State.
Thirty thousand people poured into the Gabba, and it was plain to see from the broadcast that many of them were packed shoulder-to-shoulder, caught up in the euphoria of the moment.
The state's strict entry restrictions for Victorians were bent so far out of shape as to be barely recognisable to facilitate this one game of Australian rules.
Taxpayer dollars had been thrown at the AFL to facilitate it.
When asked on which date the Premier would prefer the game to be played, she indicated that she would prefer October 24, precisely one week before the election.
October 31 would hardly do, as the polls would have closed.
Her Government's ineptitude plunged the pre-COVID state economy into a debt spiral that will make the post-pandemic recovery that much more difficult, but it can help organise a football match.
We should be thankful for small mercies.
My mother didn't watch Saturday night's game.
She passed away quietly in her sleep the previous evening at the tender age of 93, God bless her, and is now in a better place.
Mum spent most of her life in Holland Park where she was an urban legend, making friends with strangers on sight with her engaging smile and trademark, unsolicited introduction of, "Hello. I'm Pauline."
We are in the process of organising her funeral, but when it is held those attending will, by state government decree, be limited to 100.
There will be hundreds more who will wish to pay their respects to a woman who touched so many in her long life, but they will be forbidden from doing so.
Tens of thousands can hug and celebrate and slurp beer in a football stadium, but only 100 can stand in prayer, 1.5m apart, in the respectful silence of a church.
What towering hypocrisy.
We will never know how the number of 100 was decided upon.
Like everything else relating to COVID restrictions, the expert advice on which it is supposedly based is shrouded in the dark cloak of government secrecy.
Flight Centre chief executive Skroo Turner has been attempting to lift that cloak since June 9, the date on which his lawyers lodged a Right to Information request with Queensland Health asking for the medical advice on which the state's border closures were implemented.
Under RTI legislation, such requests are required to be turned around in 25 days, but five months on Mr Turner is still waiting.
The excuses offered so far have ranged from the application being "too big to process", to that it would take "a considerable amount of time".
The latest advice from the RTI officer is that they might be able to release some information on October 30.
Those who believe in coincidence will marvel at the fact that this is precisely 24 hours before the election, a time when many people will have already cast their votes.
Those more cynically inclined may be tempted to wonder if RTI officers have been acting under instructions to deliberately delay the release of material potentially damaging to the government until election eve - not that this would ever happen under a government that three years ago, swore that transparency would be its hallmark.
Another RTI request - this one from a media outlet - asking for the results of a $528,000 taxpayer-funded poll of Queenslanders' attitudes towards COVID-19 has also been refused.
The Premier's office first denied the poll existed.
When the deniable became undeniable, the response was the classic "move along, nothing to see here".
"There's no secrecy," Premier Palaszczuk said, channelling the Monty Python crew at its best as she refused to sanction the release of the still-secret findings.
When asked if there was anything controversial or potentially damaging in the results, she said: "No. There's nothing."
Well that's a relief, but that same cynically inclined person might also wonder that if there's nothing, then why not release the results.
Another RTI application is likely to be lodged, but that will not be considered until after - you guessed it - October 31.
It is amazing how that date just keeps popping up.
I am saddened by Mum's passing, but find solace in the certain knowledge that there are no politicians in that place where she now enjoys her reward for a life well and honestly lived.
Originally published as RIP Mum: Lockdown hypocrisy just got personal