Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says she “refuses to be bullied by the Prime Minister” after he called her over the latest border drama.
Speaking in parliament Thursday morning, Ms Palaszczuk also slammed the “disgusting and disgraceful” politics of division.
Ms Palaszczuk reaffirmed her stance on the state’s strict borders as she told parliament Scott Morrison had called to ask her to allow a woman to attend her father’s funeral.
Speaking on 4BC on Thursday morning, 26-year-old Sarah Caisip, who lives in Canberra, told Ray Hadley she had applied for an exemption last month, as she wanted to surprise her father for Father’s Day.
She was eventually granted an exemption to enter the state to say goodbye, however her father died before it was granted.
She has been in quarantine since she arrived on Friday. She has since asked to be allowed out for her father’s funeral, which is at 2pm on Thursday afternoon.
She said Queensland Health then rescinded her exemption and ordered her to leave the state, as the reason for her exemption was to visit her dying father, not to go to her father’s funeral.
Upon hearing the story, Mr Morrison called Ms Palaszcuk.
In response, Ms Palaszczuk said she “will not be bullied nor will she be intimidated by the Prime Minister of this country”.
“(He) contacted me this morning … and I made it very clear to the fact that it was not my decision.
“(I made it clear) that I would pass his comments on to the chief health officer, and it is her decision to make.”
Opposition leader Deb Frecklington then tabled a letter written by Ms Caisip on Tuesday, which read “my dad is dead and you made me fight to see him”.
“I was too late, and now you won’t let me go to his funeral or see my devastated 11-year-old sister,” the letter read.
Ms Frecklington demanded the Premier launch an urgent investigation into the matter.
But Ms Palaszczuk remained firm.
“As I said clearly, this is a matter for the chief health officer. The CHO has all the details, the CHO makes the decisions,” the Premier said.
“I have made it very clear, these are awful times that every single person has to go through.
“There have been more than 700 deaths in Victoria … 700 families have lost loved ones … I’m quite sure somewhere along the line there have been people unable to attend those funerals.
“Around the world, we have seen bodies buried in pits … where no families have been able to say goodbye … This is a world pandemic, this is not the time to carry on like this.
“These politics of division are disgusting and disgraceful.”
Ms Caisip has been trying for five days to get an exemption to leave quarantine for the service.
The last COVID-19 cases confirmed in ACT were in July, connected to returned travellers.
Ms Caisip said she was desperate to comfort her 11-year-old sister and mother at the funeral.
“I was going to surprise him for Father’s Day weekend. I was trying to get the exemption for 20 days before I was supposed to travel back,” she said.
“By the time they got back to me for the approval, dad had already passed away.
“He died last Wednesday, I heard from them (Queensland Health) on Friday.”
Sarah said she was only asking to be allowed out for a few hours.
It comes just hours after Today host Karl Stefanovic made an emotional plea to Ms Palaszcuk over the case of Mark Keans.
Mr Keans has terminal cancer, and has been asked to choose which of his four children he wants to visit him, as only one will be able to cross the border to Queensland to visit the dying man.
His four children all live in Sydney, and according to 7 News reports, have been told they won’t all be allowed into Queensland to say goodbye.
The children’s grandfather, Bruce Langborne, said the children “desperately want to see him.”
“They told us we were being selfish – and we weren’t taking into consideration the other cancer patients,” Mr Langborne told Seven.
“I have no idea how you pick and choose which child goes,” Mr Langborne said.
“We’re bashing our heads against brick walls.”
Mr Langborne said if they wouldn’t allow all the children to say goodbye, none of them would.
Today host Karl Stefanovic said there needed to be a better system in place.
“When you have a family choosing which child should say goodbye to their father, their dad, it’s gone too far. Just too far,” he said.
“Grant the exemption. The Premier is not heartless. She needs to streamline the system while protecting Queenslanders.
“There is a medium. Find it. Let these kids say goodbye and let a dying man say goodbye.”