Qantas boss Alan Joyce and WA Premier Mark McGowan were all smiles as they insisted they had ‘kissed and made up’ after an earlier war of words but the politician still managed to get in a last dig at the airline chief.
During a joint press conference Mr McGowan addressed the stand-off the pair had when Mr Joyce likened WA to the isolated hardline communist state of North Korea for not opening its borders in February.
There might have been no love lost between them earlier in the year but it was all smiles when WA Premier Mark McGowan and Qantas boss Allan Joyce hosted a joint press conference
‘Allan and I have kissed and made up, haven’t we?’ said a jovial Mr McGowan, addressing the question to Mr Joyce standing behind him.
‘We have, the hatchet is well and truly buried,’ Mr Joyce said.
‘The hatchet is so far buried we can’t even find it,’ replied Mr McGowan.
Prompted by a reporter as to whether they had discussed North Korea, Mr McGowan seized the opportunity to make his own unflattering comparison.
They insisted they had ‘kissed and made up’ and the ‘hatchet had been buried’ following frosty exchanges when Mr Joyce likened Mr McGowan’s state to North Korea
‘We did have a discussion on North Korea,’ Mr McGowan said.
‘I was sort of saying how Alan’s glasses and hairstyle is very similar to Kim Jong-un.’
Mr Joyce did not appear to take umbrage to being physically likened to the North Korean dictator, whose notoriety was magnified by an austere style of dress with flat-top haircuts and heavy black-rimmed glasses.
‘And I said ‘I thought we were going to be eating at a Korean restaurant’,’ Mr Joyce interjected while Mr McGowan was still at the microphone.
This 2017 image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un showcases a personal style that the leader became famous for
Mr Joyce likened WA to North Korea after the state delayed opening its border in February for nearly a month to keep out Covid, missing a date it had set for re-opening.
Mr McGowan said at the time he did not ‘get’ the comparison.
‘Comparing us to North Korea, I think, might be a bit over the top,’ he said.
‘A repressive dictatorship that murders hundreds of thousands of people compared with a successful democracy, full of freedoms and the best economy in the world. I think that’s an unfair comparison.’
Qantas is preparing to launch three more major international services flying out of Perth.
A non-stop one to Rome is beginning on Saturday and starting in November there will be non-stop flights to Johannesburg and Jakarta.
The routes are being supported by the WA Government, which has committed $195 million to its Reconnect WA package.