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‘We need every dollar’: Comment exposes Queensland’s double standards

Despite cries of double standards, Queensland authorities have revealed why celebrities like Tom Hanks are allowed into the state while grieving families aren’t.Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other senior federal government figures have strongly criticised the state after Queensland let in hundreds of AFL officials and stars like Tom Hanks, while families needing treatment or…

Despite cries of double standards, Queensland authorities have revealed why celebrities like Tom Hanks are allowed into the state while grieving families aren’t.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other senior federal government figures have strongly criticised the state after Queensland let in hundreds of AFL officials and stars like Tom Hanks, while families needing treatment or wanting to say goodbye to their loved ones were turned away.

Outrage hit fever pitch yesterday, when Queensland health officials refused to allow Canberra woman Sarah Caisip, 26, out of hotel quarantine to attend her father’s funeral in Brisbane.

After pressure from the Prime Minister, she was granted permission to see her father in his coffin but under police guard and without any family present.

The Federal Government has outlined around 40 cases where ordinary Aussie families have been hit by the border restrictions, despite there being an urgent need for them travel.

They include parents separated from their newborn son for days, a woman seeking follow-up appointments for her breast cancer surgery and a man who wished to farewell his mother before she died.

Despite this, 400 AFL staff, executives and families were controversially given permission to dodge the strict Queensland border lockdown and were put up in a luxury hotel.

Celebrities like Tom Hanks have also been allowed to circumvent the rules. He was allowed to self-isolate at a resort of his choice rather than follow the usual process.

Now, for the first time, Queensland’s chief health officer – who solely has the power to grant exemptions – has revealed why some people are treated differently.

And it all comes down to one word – money.

Jeannette Young said there were economic reasons for allowing film stars to pass into the state because “we need every single dollar in our state”.

“I have given exemptions from people in entertainment and film because that is bringing a lot of money into this state,” she said in a press conference yesterday.

Mr Morrison told Sky News overnight it was clear there were double standards at play.

“Well I think that’s why people have been so frustrated today, when they see double standards,” he said.

“Queenslanders are fair-minded people. I know, I’m sure the vast majority of Queenslanders would support the border being in place. That’s why it’s not about that, it’s about – you know, Queenslanders are very fair-minded people too, and I think this is what would offended them, the double standards that are there.

“I didn’t want to see this become a public issue today, because largely for Sarah and Isabelle and Merna’s case. They’re trying to deal with the loss of their husband and their father today, and all of this was happening around that. And I’m sad that that has been the case.”

His comments come after the extraordinary case of Sarah Caisip desperately seeking a chance to farewell her father captured national attention yesterday.

Yesterday, Mr Morrison contacted Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to seek an exemption in the case.

Not long after, the woman – who now lives in Canberra – was granted permission to see her father in his coffin but under police guard and without any family present.

She was allowed to briefly leave her hotel, but she couldn’t go to the funeral itself, instead she was ushered into another room with full PPE on to view her father’s body for just 10 minutes. Her family were kept at arm’s length.

After being asked whether he thought Ms Palaszczuk’s decision not to give the woman an exemption was inhumane, the Prime Minister said “it’s hard to draw any other conclusion”.

“It’s just one day I had hoped that something different could be done,” Mr Morrison told Sky News host Peta Credlin.

“There’s been some shocking days during the course of this pandemic, and today just hurt.

“At least, I’m glad she got to say one last farewell to her father, Bernard, I’m pleased she was able to do that. But gee, I wish she was able to give her mum and her sister a hug.

“And the other thing is, Peta, we ask our police officers to do some hard things. Can you imagine being one of those police officers today with Sarah? Honestly.”

Mr Morrison said if the premiers believe borders are necessary, then they must find “a better way to deal with the heart”.

Are you in desperate need of crossing the border? Contact benjamin.graham@news.com.au

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