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Qld premier lashes PM over border "bullying"

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Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the prime minister and the state opposition are using people’s personal tragedies involving border restrictions to subject her to the worst bullying she’s seen in her lifetime.

 

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Palaszczuk lashed out at Scott Morrison after Liberal National Party leader Deb Frecklington asked her about the case of a Canberra woman who tried but failed to enter the state in time to see her dying father.

She’s now in quarantine and is set to miss his funeral at 2pm on Thursday in Brisbane, after health officials told her she wasn’t supposed to even be in Queensland because her right to enter didn’t cover her father’s death.

Palaszczuk revealed the prime minister had called her to speak about the case ahead of the funeral.

“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,” Palaszczuk told state parliament.

“I would hope that the prime minister would work in a cooperative 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.”

Palaszczuk reiterated the state’s chief health officer was in charge of assessing medical exemptions to cross the border.

She said the state’s hospitals were already treating 1000 NSW residents a week, but admitted that many people were missing funerals.

“Around the world, we have seen bodies being buried in the pits … where no families have been able to say goodbye,” the premier said.

“This is a world pandemic, this is not the time to carry on like this, this is a time when every single person in this country should be working together and this politics of division is disgusting and disgraceful.”

Earlier Thursday morning, the Queensland premier came under attack by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who has joined demands the state government relax its tough coronavirus measures.

“The premier here in Queensland is just so pig-headed and people are suffering because of it,” Mr Dutton told radio 2GB on Thursday.

Palaszczuk has defended her government against accusations special quarantine treatment has been granted to AFL officials and American superstar Tom Hanks.

Freckington claimed 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.

Dutton said Queensland health authorities needed to have more compassion in granting border exemptions.

“There needs to be an application of common sense and compassion here and both of those creeds are missing at the moment from Premier Palaszczuk’s approach,” he said.

“It’s really upsetting and heartbreaking. I just don’t understand why the government would put someone through that extra grief.”

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

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

“It took six months to reach 500,000 tests, but it only took six weeks to double that and reach the magic million mark,” he said.

He thanked the state’s “hard-working” health authorities for their efforts.

“Their outstanding work is the reason we have prevented much greater devastation in our state.”

-with AAP

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