Gungahlin woman denied the chance to say goodbye to her dying mother

Hannah Sparks 15 September 2020 45
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has been criticised for the state’s harsh border restrictions. Photo: File.

Another Canberra woman has been left heartbroken after her request to say goodbye to her dying mother and attend the funeral in Cairns was ignored by the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Sophie Andrews (the name Region Media has given the woman to provide anonymity) was forced to watch her mother’s funeral online from her Gungahlin home on Friday, even though she planned to travel directly from Canberra where there have been zero cases of COVID-19 since 10 July.

“I sat there watching Mum deteriorating on FaceTime, it was very frustrating,” Ms Andrews said while fighting back tears.

“I never got to hug and kiss her as I would have been able to if the borders had not been closed and I had been able to travel up there. My mum gave the best hugs!”

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Ms Andrews is a Queenslander but lives in the ACT while her husband serves in the Australian Army.

“I wouldn’t have minded if the Queensland Premier checked my COVID-19 tracking app to see that I hadn’t been to NSW or left the Australia Capital Territory for months now,” she said.

Doctors warned Ms Andrews that her mother had taken a turn for the worse a couple of weeks ago after battling cancer for several years. However, the initial diagnosis that gave Ms Andrews’ mother several weeks to live soon became days.

The 14-day mandatory quarantine for those travelling to Queensland meant that even though Ms Andrews and her family were granted permission to travel to Cairns, they would have been stuck in a hotel during her mother’s last days and the funeral.

More than a week before the funeral, Ms Andrews sent a written plea to Premier Palaszczuk to waive the 14-day quarantine.

The only reply Ms Andrews received was an email from the premier’s office saying her border exemption request had been forwarded to Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles.

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“I am begging that you would allow me, my husband and four young children to travel up and say goodbye to my mother and support my father at this time,” Ms Andrews said in her plea on 2 September.

“We would fly direct from Canberra where, as you know, there have been no cases in 54 days now. We would stop over in Brisbane and not leave the airport and then fly direct to Cairns all while wearing masks. We have not left the ACT for many weeks now and have been socially distancing here as well.

“Please put yourself in our situation. What would you do if it were your parents?”

The Queensland Government has been criticised for its harsh border closures and for identifying the ACT as a COVID-19 hotspot on grounds it’s surrounded by cases in NSW.

Premier Palaszczuk has also come under fire for allowing AFL players and their families to cross the border while people such as Ms Andrews have been denied access to their parent’s funerals.

Canberra woman Sarah Caisip was also denied permission to attend her father’s funeral in Queensland. She was only allowed to view her father’s body for 10 minutes while wearing full personal protective equipment.

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“The fact that we’re at 65 days without coronavirus in the ACT means the Queensland Premier’s decision to keep the border closed can only be political,” Ms Andrews said on Sunday (13 September).

Ms Andrews and her family are hoping to travel to Cairns to be with Ms Andrews’ father and siblings in October.

“I’m hoping Premier Palaszczuk doesn’t get reelected in October and the borders are open again so we all can go up and be with Dad.”

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45 Responses to Gungahlin woman denied the chance to say goodbye to her dying mother
azel azel 8:58 pm 18 Sep 20

All politics , they could have let her in . The premier is hiding behind the health minster.

BlowMeDown BlowMeDown 8:50 am 18 Sep 20

These are exceptional times. Hundreds in this country have died alone without their relatives allowed to be present and it hasn’t raised the attention that either of these cases has. Not to mention the thousands of cases where relatives are separated by international borders.

Kytie Mclign Kytie Mclign 4:35 am 18 Sep 20

Why do we keep making this about the Qld Premier? The decisions are based on public healthy grounds by medical professionals.

Vicky Diamond Vicky Diamond 1:18 am 18 Sep 20

As a Canberran, I am really glad that the QLD premier has also closed its borders to ACT. If their borders were open to ACT, while closed to NSW and Victorian, then the ACT would be inundated with a flood of people from NSW and Victoria, some of whom could be infected with Covid, just so they can fly to QLD.

I know how devastating it is not to be with your parents when they are dying. But, it is not as devastating as causing the deaths of other people’s parents and grandparents, if quarantine is not strictly enforced.

I feel sad for all of those who could not be with their loved ones as they lay dying. But we need to protect those who are still living and we need to protect as many businesses and jobs and livelihoods as we can. We can’t protect lives and livelihoods without quarantine.

Andrew Hegedues Andrew Hegedues 9:18 pm 17 Sep 20

Palla chook is how her name is pronounced.

Haga doosh is how my name is pronounced. Hegedus is the real Hungarian spelling

Deal with it chooky woman. 😆

I survived. And they even made a song about me...

Ha... gaaa. Dooosh... dooosh... push pineapples blah blah blah! 🥰

god I'm unique 🤪

Aldyth Mackay Aldyth Mackay 8:22 pm 15 Sep 20

This is politics pure and simple. 400 football fanatics - no problem. One faminy - nah!!

Robyn Holder Robyn Holder 8:21 pm 15 Sep 20

Stop whingeing. Funerals are the worst places to spread infection. A bit unfair though for Canberra people as long as they can prove they live here.

Karen Feng Karen Feng 12:44 pm 15 Sep 20

This is sad. But it must be effective as they have very little covid cases. Didn't NSW and VIC had a large number after the restrictions were losen?

Canberra Women of Science and Art Canberra Women of Science and Art 8:16 am 15 Sep 20

So sad :(

steve2020 steve2020 11:22 pm 14 Sep 20

I do not vote Labor at all and could never bring myself to vote for the Labor and union culture. Having said that, I can see how the border situation is based on health as it in layman’s terms ties into healthy boundaries that is expanded on in detail within trusted and unbiased medical journals and medical research. Opening borders before it is safe to do so would seem to be against medical advisory though whether it is safe or not now is up for debate. There has been a lack of consistency in the management of the borders by allowing people to enter and in some cases providing exemptions based on profitability that is not extended to other citizens, and the overriding of health concerns by prioritising profitability and economics over health on some occasions that would not seem to tie in with general medical advisory.

Jason Duarte Jason Duarte 10:18 pm 14 Sep 20

She hates Canberrans

Deb Champion Deb Champion 9:53 pm 14 Sep 20

It is not the Premiers decision to make. It is made by the State CMO and her team. Get the facts right

    Rich Fallon Rich Fallon 10:48 pm 14 Sep 20

    So if an unelected bureaucrat has & retains more power than All the Elected Officials, then why are Qld going to the polls on Oct 31st? Kind of makes Government superfluous. Or more correct , Anna is just hiding behind the Bureaucracy she has doubled in size, and still trying to play The Victim when She is called out.

Sharon Grant Sharon Grant 9:06 pm 14 Sep 20

When will they let people through that come from areas that are actually safer than Qld?!

Mac John Mac John 9:00 pm 14 Sep 20

The premier does not make these decisions: it is the chief health officer. You are making a political point , not happy and needs call out.

    Linda Stapleton Linda Stapleton 3:31 am 15 Sep 20

    Well actually that isn't quite what she said Sharon, but nice try.

    Ross Dennis Ross Dennis 9:39 am 18 Sep 20

    She EXACTLY said, 'I have given exemptions for people in entertainment and film because that is bringing a lot of money into this state and, can I say, we need every single dollar in our state,' she said in her Thursday press conference". So, Sharon, right on the money!!!

    Ross Dennis Ross Dennis 9:41 am 18 Sep 20

    So...that would seem to mean you have to be a rich grieving person to get similar treatment.

Jody Maree Harrison Jody Maree Harrison 8:46 pm 14 Sep 20

You can’t always say good bye to loved ones .

So many people have been through this same situation some are still broken from not being able to say goodbye some will remain sad until they are able to go to the final resting place of their loved ones . This is life at this currant moment in time .

Paul South Paul South 8:23 pm 14 Sep 20

Thank our lucky stars its not the 13th century and Covid isn't Bubonic plague

Joanne Mitchell Joanne Mitchell 8:09 pm 14 Sep 20

She was granted permission provided she quarantined for 14 days . They thought she had a few weeks but her condition deteriorated . They were still in the ACT battling the 14 day quarantine period when her condition deteriorated . they thought they had time but sadly didnt in the end

Rainer Busacker Rainer Busacker 8:03 pm 14 Sep 20

Double standards. QLD CHO admitted that the economy was more important than sentiment. That's why football officials from current "HOT SPOT" got permission to enter QLD. Relatives of sick and dying people just have to sick it up. Too bad you won't get a "Sorry" from QLD

Rauny Worm Rauny Worm 7:46 pm 14 Sep 20

Oh dear, I think within a country this should not is painful enough having this happen throughout 2020 for all migrants to Oz with family overseas. I can't even begin to tell my own story, which is too painful to spell-out. I am thinking of this poor woman and her family..

Jo Holburn Jo Holburn 7:20 pm 14 Sep 20

Not everyone can go to family funerals as many can’t afford to travel even interstate let alone overseas. It’s a common problem for many families who just live knowing these events just cannot be attended. The premiers first responsibility is to the citizens of QLD. I think she is doing her best in these peculiar times

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