The daughter of a Queensland man whose funeral was on the centre of a federal-state brawl over border closures has accused Scott Morrison of utilizing the case to “advance his political agenda”.
Alexandra Prendergast stated in an open letter to the prime minister his actions have been “completely disrespectful” to households who had not been granted permission to attend kin’ funerals.
It was “heartbreaking” that Morrison had “offered himself as being empathetic and understanding” however had not thought of the ramifications of his actions for relations, Prendergast stated.
Bernard Prendergast’s funeral grew to become the newest battleground within the battle between the federal authorities and the Queensland premier after it was revealed one in every of his daughters, Sarah Caisip, was denied an exemption from lodge quarantine to attend the ceremony.
Caisip lives within the ACT, which has not had a case of Covid-19 for greater than two months.
After she spoke to the media about her scenario and wrote to the prime minister, Morrison tried to barter an exemption with Annastacia Palaszczuk.
On Thursday, within the Queensland parliament, Palaszczuk stated Morrison was making an attempt to “bully” and “intimidate” her into enjoyable border controls after she was requested concerning the case by the chief of the opposition, Deb Frecklington.
Later the identical day, with Prendergast’s funeral scheduled for that afternoon, Morrison went on Sky Information and Sydney radio station 2GB pleading for the 26-year-old to be allowed to attend.
Alexandra Prendergast, Bernard’s eldest little one, accused the prime minister in her letter of attracting media to her father’s funeral and invading the household’s privateness.
“Mr Morrison, I’m extraordinarily upset that you’ve got used my household to try to advance your political agenda … Your announcement of my father’s funeral on [radio] prompted a media circus exterior the crematorium at which the service was held,” she stated.
“I’m devastated that the ultimate reminiscences of my father have been marred by the media you’ve got used to prosecute your political agenda.”
Prendergast advised Guardian Australia she discovered of Morrison’s involvement solely after being confronted by cameras exterior the funeral parlour. She stated some household have been conscious of his intervention however she felt she ought to have been contacted straight.
“I’m his daughter – if anybody ought to have been advised it ought to have been me. I might by no means have allowed images of myself at my father’s funeral for use by anybody.”
She stated she felt Morrison spoke concerning the case solely to accentuate strain on Palaszczuk.
“He might need thought of the implications for the media and the way in which that he can generate a narrative, however he didn’t think about the non-public implications for the relations attending the funeral. That’s actually heartbreaking as a result of he has offered himself as being empathetic and understanding, however he has not thought of the opposite ramifications,” she stated.
“It’s made the grieving course of far more sophisticated. We’re not solely going by our personal private grief, nevertheless it’s additionally very public. There are fixed reminders within the information, and images within the paper.”
A spokesman for the prime minister stated Morrison spoke publicly about Caisip’s case solely after the Queensland premier did so.
“The prime minister may be very sorry for the household’s loss. His intervention was supposed to be made solely on to the premier as he has accomplished on dozens of different instances. It’s unlucky that the premier selected to seek advice from her dialog with the prime minister within the parliament,” the spokesman stated.
“The prime minister’s desire was that this matter be dealt with discreetly. The prime minister needs Alexandra and her household each consolation and condolence at this very troublesome time.”
Prendergast’s grandmother additionally died immediately, the day earlier than her father. Her sister and aunt, who’re in Melbourne, have been barred from coming into Queensland to attend both funeral. She was upset with the strict border closures, however stated the issue required systemic change fairly than the prime minister drawing consideration to the one household.
“The inconsistencies inside my circle of relatives’s expertise is extraordinarily upsetting, however your actions are additionally completely disrespectful to all these different households who haven’t been granted permission to farewell their family members,” she wrote.
Caisip was finally allowed to attend a personal viewing of her father’s physique after the funeral, however needed to put on full PPE and couldn’t work together with household. She was then returned to lodge quarantine.
Queensland’s chief well being officer, Dr Jeannette Younger, advised reporters final week Caisip was denied an exemption as a result of “the very last thing I might wish to occur is to have an outbreak at a funeral, and by definition there are all the time older folks attending funerals”.
Requested why the Australian Capital Territory was nonetheless thought of a hotspot given there had been no lively instances within the territory for 60 days, Younger stated the ACT was “in the midst of New South Wales”.
She pointed to a cluster of instances in Batemans Bay greater than a month in the past and stated “lots of Canberra residents have weekend residences they go to in Batemans Bay”.
“Sadly, for individuals who reside in Canberra, they’re deemed as being in a hotspot and must be managed as such,” Younger stated.
Morrison stated he was “mystified” by the choice.
“At present simply damage,” he stated on Thursday. “We’ve acquired to discover a higher approach to cope with the guts right here.”