Premier makes the right call for Queensland
WHEN Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin in 1974, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was holidaying in Greece.
Despite the cyclone claiming the lives of 71 people, Mr Whitlam flew back to Australia for a few days and then returned to Greece.
The cartoonists had a field day. It wasn't one of Mr Whitlam's best decisions. In politics, timing and perception is everything.
As fires rage in Queensland, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is in Lausanne, Switzerland, to meet with the International Olympic Committee to effectively formalise an Olympics bid for 2032.
She was invited by the IOC president Thomas Bach, a first for the IOC, which changed the rules around bids just three months ago.
The IOC wants fewer losers from bidding cities, meaning countries are now invited to tender, knowing that the bid will be exhaustively assessed, even tweaked, to ensure it is of the highest standard.
Nobody has more empathy for fire-ravaged Queenslanders than Ms Palaszczuk, who said she found the devastation "gut wrenching'',
She is being briefed virtually on the hour by fire and rescue authorities as the situation worsens or improves depending on weather conditions.
But in her life in politics, the meeting with Mr Bach may prove to be the most significant in Annastacia Palaszczuk's career.
Should Queensland be awarded the 2032 Olympics, the infrastructure boom and jobs and tourism opportunities will last for half a century.
There is no other place in the world Ms Palaszczuk needs to be, other than at IOC headquarters.
She is providing the necessary resources and emergency services personnel to help those fire-ravaged communities.
There is still a chance she may cut short her Olympics trip and return to Queensland earlier than planned. That will depend on whether the fires escalate.
But proceeding with the Thomas Bach briefing and IOC meetings is crucial. An Olympic Games for Queensland would be transformational. She did the right thing.