A grieving daughter banned from attending her father’s funeral with her 11-year-old sister has been allowed to view his body dressed in full PPE gear and surrounded by security guards.
Canberran Sarah Caisip has been trapped in quarantine in Queensland and was taken under police escort today to see her father’s body.
The heartbreaking “solution” to a bitter row over the plight of the family was announced today by Queensland Health after a war of words between the Prime Minister and the Queensland Premier.
But it threatened to descend into a media circus after the woman was banned from attending the funeral with her family.
The 26-year-old travelled to Queensland to spend time with her father during his final days but he died before she could get out.
Her father’s funeral was scheduled for 2pm but she was told in the hours leading up to the funeral that she could not attend.
Up to 100 of her family and friends were allowed to attend the 2pm service in Mount Gravatt.
Health Minister Greg Hunt again urged the Queensland Premier to allow her to attend wearing a mask.
“Obviously, I think, the most sensible and sensitive and compassionate thing to do with regard to Sarah’s case is if in a COVID-safe way, obviously, masked and with any other appropriate distancing, Sarah were able to attend the full funeral, I think that would be the most humane, compassionate thing to do,’’ he said.
Ms Caisip wrote a heartbreaking letter to the Queensland Premier after she was unable to cross the border to spend time with him during his final days.
“My dad is dead and you made me fight to see him, but it was too late and now you won’t let me go to his funeral or see my devastated 11-year-old sister,” Ms Caisip said.
“You won’t listen and your government is destroying my life.
“Now you are preventing me from going to view his body, which is a very important tradition for me, and also preventing me from going to his funeral this Thursday, even though I am in Brisbane in hotel quarantine and only a few kilometres away.
“I came from virus-free Canberra, so the fact that I’m even in quarantine is beyond belief but the fact that I am being denied my basic human rights to care for my grief-stricken mother and little 11-year-old sister enrages, disgusts and devastates me at the same time.
“My little sister is now without my support and I will never forgive you.”
Just after noon, Queensland chief health officer Jeanette Young said she would be let out of hotel quarantine for a private viewing of the body.
The exemption to attend the funeral was not granted.
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Earlier, the Prime Minister confirmed this morning he had called Annastacia Palaszczuk and demanded she take action to allow the woman to skip quarantine so she can attend the funeral which is taking place this afternoon.
“I’ve appealed to her to overrule the decision,’’ Mr Morrison told 4BC radio.
“That would allow Sarah to go to the funeral today. It’s not about borders. It’s not about politicians. It’s not about elections. The only thing that matters today is that Sarah can be with her 11 year old sister Isobel and her mother while they mourn the passing of their husband Bernard.”
Both Mr Morrison and radio broadcaster Ray Hadley were in on the verge of tears during the emotional interview as they discussed their own father’s deaths.
“Sadly she wasn’t able to see her father before he passed. All of us who have been through that process know how important that is. It’s still fresh in my mind,’’ he said.
Mr Morrison continued on the verge of tears after pausing as he discussed her being in hotel quarantine on Father’s Day.
“Surely, just this once, this can be done,’’ he said.
“There have been no COVID cases in Canberra for 60 days. I’ve done all I can.”
But one Queensland Government source told news.com.au “He wasn’t bloody crying when he rang the Premier and berated her,’’ he said.
“It’s not her call. It’s the chief health officers. The PM rang and said, “You will do this. She had to remind him it was “R U OK? day.”
In Parliament, the Queensland Premier accused the Prime Minister of bullying her over borders.
“I will not be bullied, nor will I be intimidated by the Prime Minister,’’ she said.