Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (Image: AAP/Darren England)

The devil is always in the detail, and the unfolding response to the threatened second wave of coronavirus is proof of the poor public policy that now governs us.

Daniel Andrews has rightfully apologised for the monumental failings of the Victorian hotel quarantine program. Victorians deserve to feel let down by a system — and politicians — that eschewed planning and delivered a shoddy response to an unfolding pandemic.

But there is a mighty lesson for other states in the Coate report — including Queensland, which has been given star billing during the pandemic lockdown. Queensland has had fewer cases than other states, and its perceived strong decision-making and largely compliant population has won acclaim internationally.

Indeed, Annastacia Palaszczuk and her team were rewarded with another term only seven weeks ago, with voters crediting the government for keeping them and their families safe.

But now, as NSW struggles to curtail a new outbreak and Victorians digest what went wrong, Queensland’s lack of planning for any second wave is concerning.

The evidence can be seen in long and frustrated queues at border checkpoints, in even longer queues at COVID clinics, in the absolute lack of socially distanced Christmas shopping, and in the difficulty people have accessing telehealth (or other medical attention) while sick.

It’s also obvious in the lack of clarity around what can and can’t be done, and the blame game launched yesterday over cafe and restaurant diners not recording their details.

And it will all get worse as the state government tries to sell a policy which means you can stand on top of each other at football matches or shopping centres but not get a “ticket” to attend church on Christmas Day.

Seven weeks ago, as Queenslanders went to the polls, COVID-19 testing results were routinely available in hours. It’s now taking 36 hours, or even longer.

A person during that time needs to self-isolate at home — where other occupants can come and go. But parents can’t attend school to see their child graduate.

Our medical response needs to be looked at, too. Accessing a GP is almost impossible at the moment and not allowed if you have taken a test. Telehealth appointments can only go ahead, I was told on the weekend, if the patient has been to the clinic previously.

That’s not much help to travellers during Christmas season. Meanwhile the queues at the border grow ahead of a possible hard shutdown, catching policymakers on the hop.

Even more embarrassing in policy terms is the failure to consider that people have not been registering their details at cafes and pubs and restaurants — meaning tracing has been haphazard and, in some crucial cases, nigh impossible.

Palaszczuk this week said she was very concerned that contact-tracing in Queensland was failing following the NSW breakout. From now on, Queensland venues must have a QR code or electronic devices for signing in. People need to use a smart phone to register attendance — and if they don’t have a smart phone, they need to visit the establishment with someone who does. Sound like good policy?

“You have 72 hours to get your house in order,’’ the premier said. The government should take its own advice there too. Instead of blaming diners and demanding emergency national cabinet meetings, it needs to look at its own backyard where the virus is now being found in sewage in Cairns, Cleveland, Townsville and the Gold Coast.

Shutting the borders is easy. Developing public policy that deals with ongoing bouts of a pandemic is much harder — and doesn’t make for as big a headline.

But the current threat shows how important it is. Andrews is now dealing with that lesson. Palaszczuk, and other premiers, shouldn’t think they’re above it.