An emotional Annastacia Palaszczuk has stood firm on Queensland’s tight border restrictions, with the premier insisting she does not make the rules which initially led to only one of four young children being allowed to see their dying father.
The Queensland premier admitted such circumstances were “heartbreaking” and she too had been affected by the stringent restrictions, but stressed Australia is in the midst of a global pandemic.
“It is tough on everyone. And let me make it very clear, I don't make those decisions,” she said.
Ms Palaszczuk said the decision lay in the hands of Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young.
“Under the Act, it's her decision. You've got to have someone – you've got to take the clinical advice here,” she said.
The premier was grilled by reporters on Friday morning about the heartbreaking stories where families have been denied entry into Queensland to attend funerals or to farewell dying loved ones.
Ms Palaszczuk repeatedly conceded the much-publicised cases were heartbreaking, but said she had a job to do – to protect Queenslanders from coronavirus.
She then revealed she had been “hurt deeply” personally amid the pandemic.
“I’m human just like everyone else,” she said.
“These issues hurt me deeply. They hurt me deeply because during this pandemic I have lost loved ones as well. I know exactly what people are going through, OK?” she added as she left the media conference abruptly on the brink of tears.
Dying father helped by strangers to see his family
Father of four Mark Keans, 39, is dying in a Brisbane hospital with brain and lung cancer while his family remain in NSW unable to see him due to coronavirus restrictions.
Initially Queensland authorities only granted one child to go see their father, however 7News understands a deal has been struck to bring all four children into Queensland if they quarantine at a cost of $16,000.
Ms Palaszczuk stressed they were not the only family to be affected by the tight restrictions, describing the situation as “gut-wrenching”.
“We're dealing with a health pandemic. It is absolutely tragic. It is heartbreaking,” she said.
“Families are not together at the moment. There are people at Heathrow waiting to come back home.
“There's people all around the world waiting to come back home. There's people who can't see babies and loved ones in Victoria. There's people who can't go and see people in Western Australia.”
A GoFundMe page has since raised more than $200,000 for the family, including a reported donation from Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Another case that caught the attention of Mr Morrison was the Canberra woman denied the opportunity to attend her father’s funeral in Brisbane.
Sarah Caisip, 26, had previously failed in an application to see her father before his death.
Ms Palaszczuk hit out at Mr Morrison saying he was attempting to interfere in state matters.
She stressed on Friday she has a large team of about 80 working through exemptions and making “really difficult and tough decisions”.
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