PM's emotional plea after woman banned from dad's funeral

Australian Associated Press
·4-min read

A young woman will be allowed to leave quarantine in Brisbane to view her father's body, but won't be permitted to attend his funeral in a case that has ignited a bitter feud between Queensland's premier and the prime minister.

Canberra resident Sarah Caisip, 26, has been permitted to view her father Bernard's body by the state's chief health officer.

But despite a personal plea from Prime Minister Scott Morrison she will still not be allowed to leave quarantine to go to her father's funeral on Thursday.

Photo shows Sarah Caisip with her family pm the beach. Source: Nine News
Ms Caisip, who's from Brisbane originally, had applied for a Queensland border exemption to visit her dying father but it wasn't granted until Friday. Source: Nine News

Annastacia Palaszczuk accused Mr Morrison of trying to bully her over the state's strict coronavirus border restrictions when he rang her on Thursday morning to make an appeal on behalf of the Canberra resident.

Ms Caisip, who's moved from Brisbane in February, had applied for a Queensland border exemption to visit her dying father but it wasn't granted until Friday, two days after his death.

Ms Caisip applied for a Queensland border exemption to visit her dying father but it wasn't granted until Friday, two days after his death. Source: Facebook
Ms Caisip applied for a Queensland border exemption to visit her dying father but it wasn't granted until Friday, two days after his death. Source: Facebook

She then tried to get an exemption from health officials to be released from quarantine in Brisbane to go to his funeral at 2pm.

"They said I shouldn't even be in Queensland because the exemption for me to come to Queensland was to say goodbye to my dying father, not to go the funeral," she told Brisbane radio 4BC.

"I was shaking when he said that to me, and I was like: 'well is there anything else you're going to tell me that's going to help me in this situation at all' and then he just said no. And then I just hung up on him, it's just too much."

The prime minister made an emotional plea on behalf of the family, saying it wasn't about borders and that Ms Palaszczuk's lack of action over the "heartbreaking case" had forced his hand.

"The only thing that matters today is that Sarah can be with her 11-year-old sister Isabel and her mother Merna while they mourn the passing of their father and husband Bernard at Mount Gravatt today," he told Sydney radio 2GB.

"It was Father's Day on the weekend ... In this midst of all this heartache surely just this once this can be done."

Mr Morrison said he had spoken to Ms Caisip to let her know she had his support.

Ms Palaszczuk lashed out at Mr Morrison in state parliament after Liberal National Party leader Deb Frecklington asked her about the case, accusing the opposition of taking part in a coordinated campaign with the prime minister's office.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media at a press conference. Source: AAP
Mr Morrision said he had spoken to Ms Caisip to let her know she had his support. Source: AAP

"It is absolutely not acceptable for the leader of the opposition to do what she is doing today; a coordinated campaign with the prime minister's office is disgusting and it is demeaning," she said.

"I would hope that the prime minister would work in a co-operative matter with everyone across this country and this divisiveness, and these fights, and this intimidation, and this bullying is the worst I've ever seen in my lifetime."

The premier confirmed Mr Morrison had called her to speak about Ms Caisip's situation.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is seen at the announcement that Brisbane will host the AFL Grand Final. Source: AAP
Annastacia Palaszczuk has accused Mr Morrison of trying to bully her over the state's strict coronavirus border restrictions. Source: AAP

The woman's case has caused an uproar on the airwaves across Sydney and Brisbane with 2GB radio host Ray Hadley telling Ms Palaszczuk "you are a heartless woman".

AAP has contacted Queensland Health for comment.

Meanwhile, Queensland recorded zero coronavirus cases overnight and has 27 active infections.

Health Minister Steven Miles says health authorities have conducted one million virus tests.

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