A Sydney family have been asked to decide which of their four young children will say goodbye to their dying father in hospital across the border.
Father of four Mark Keans, 39, is dying in a Brisbane hospital, while his family remain in NSW unable to see him due to coronavirus restrictions.
The Queensland government has ruled just one of Mr Keans’s children will be allowed to cross the border and say goodbye to their father.
Mr Keans’s father Bruce Langborne said it was an “impossible” choice for the family.
Speaking to Channel Nine’s Today Show on Thursday, Mr Langborne said his son, who was diagnosed with inoperable cancer in his brain and lungs, was struggling and upset he could not see his loved ones.
Mr Langborne added there were a few things Mr Keans’s family was being told “unofficially” as nothing from the Queensland Government was in writing.
“One, we had too many people trying to come up. Two, we weren't allowed to drive, we had to fly in and then we probably wouldn't get out of the airport anyway, they'd send us back,” he said.
“Three, by us wanting to come and see Mark, we're being selfish and not taking any thought as to the welfare of the other cancer patients.”
In a statement to Yahoo News Australia, a Queensland Health spokesperson said they “sympathise” with Mr Keans’s family’s situation.
“We understand and sympathise that this is a very difficult time and there are challenges,” the spokesperson said.
“We are in the midst of a global pandemic and we need to protect our communities, especially the most vulnerable members of the community.
“Queensland’s current border restrictions are in place for one purpose – to save lives. We understand the health directions in place are strict, but they are designed to protect Queenslanders from COVID-19.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been scrutinised for the state’s tough border closure, and the decision to prevent the four children from visiting their dying father has enraged NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard.
"I can only express my anger, my supreme anger, at the Queensland Premier's decision, which in my view is nothing more base loopy politics. I'm appalled," Mr Hazzard said.
On Wednesday, Ms Palaszczuk was grilled about the consistency and compassion of border rules designed to contain COVID-19 in southern states.
Queensland recorded eight new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, one of the state’s largest spikes in months.
Ms Palaszczuk defended Queensland's hard border closure, saying she was taking the medical advice of the state's chief health officer, Jeannette Young.
"When it comes to individual cases, they need to refer the individuals to the exemptions unit. I don't make these decisions, they are made by clinicians," she said in parliament.
Liberal National Party MP Laura Gerber asked if US actor Tom Hanks, who previously tested positive in Queensland back in March, was in mandatory quarantine after flying into the Gold Coast on Tuesday night.
The premier confirmed Hanks was subject to health measures agreed under the film industry's COVID-safe plan.
"Under that plan they have to stay in the place for two weeks just like everybody else and they will have random checks, as my understanding, by the police," she told parliament.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington claims Hanks and other members of the film production company have been allowed to pick their own accommodation and are not in one of the government-mandated quarantine hotels.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.