After a disastrous week of horror stories from grieving families, the Queensland Premier is copping it in the polls and she’s even been called the state’s version of Donald Trump.
Nationals Senator Matt Canavan unleashed an extraordinary attack on Annastacia Palaszczuk overnight, saying this past fortnight has seen the “absurdity” of Queensland government’s policy on border restrictions “collapse upon itself”.
Mr Canavan told Sky News there is widespread support for restrictions on travel from areas where COVID-19 is spreading, but the Queensland government put “far too much stock in that and far too little stock in actually making the sensible decisions on the ground that impact real human beings”.
“Too wrapped up in focusing on being tough on borders, Annastacia Palaszczuk has become a Queensland version of Donald Trump … building the wall keeping all of the Mexicans out from down south,” he said.
His comments come as poll results published in the The Australian today show support for Ms Palaszczuk has fallen across key marginal seats in regional Queensland.
It is not what she will want to read this morning as it potentially signals her Labor government being ousted at the October 31 state election.
The poll of four Labor-held seats commissioned by coal company New Hope also indicates double-digit swings to the Opposition outside Brisbane.
The surge in support for the Liberal National Party in the seats of Ipswich, Keppel, Mackay and Thuringowa, in suburban Townsville, comes off the back of Labor’s falling primary vote in three of the seats and a plunge in One Nation’s popularity from the 2017 election.
It comes after a week of heartbreaking stories of Australians being denied the right to travel interstate to attend their loved ones’ funerals.
Outrage over Queensland’s harsh rules hit fever pitch on Thursday after 26-year-old Sarah Caisip was denied permission to attend her father’s funeral.
After an intervention from the Prime Minister, she was granted permission to see her father in his coffin but under police guard and without any family present.
She was allowed to briefly leave her hotel, but she couldn’t go to the funeral itself, instead she was ushered into another room with full PPE on to view her father’s body for just 10 minutes. Her family were kept at arm’s length.
Mr Canavan on Sky News said the story showed the Queensland Premier lacked compassion.
“That was just a completely heartless approach and then later in the week there was a gutless approach with the Premier throwing her own medical officer under the bus and putting her out in front of the media and refusing to face the cameras herself,” he said.
Over the weekend, more heartbreaking stories have emerged, after a cold-hearted email to a grieving mother wanting attend her son’s funeral exposed the brutal nature of Queensland’s harsh border restrictions.
Elena Turner, 72, lives only a few hours away from Queensland and has already lost two children in her lifetime.
This week Ms Turner discovered her son Wayne had died in hospital aged 49, after suffering a series of strokes.
Her only request was that she could drive less than three hours to say goodbye to her son properly at his funeral on Tuesday in Logan.
She pleaded with Queensland Health officials to show compassion and enter the state from her home in Gulmarrad, regional NSW.
However, the short reply she received showed anything but compassion.
The short reply acknowledged her distress, but curtly added, “However, I draw your attention to the Queensland border restrictions, which will prevent your entry into Queensland.”
Ms Turner told the Courier Mail she could not understand why she is not allowed to attend the funeral, coming from a COVID-free area to southeast Queensland where there are active cases.
“Anyone from Logan can get to that funeral and they don’t have any trouble. I would be less of a risk than anyone in the hot spots in Brisbane,” she said. “I don’t understand it, I just don’t understand.”
Her granddaughter Reanna Turner told 7 NEWS her grandmother is “hurting” from the brutal border call.
“She is hurting and she wants to say goodbye to her son – her baby,” she said.
Another story has emerged on Saturday, as a desperate father is unable to see his young daughter battling cancer.
Brad Jones is trapped across the New South Wales border in Lismore while his youngest daughter Charlotte undergoes chemotherapy in Brisbane.
Despite only being two hours away, he is unable to see her without paying for a two week stay in hotel quarantine across the border.
Charlotte’s mother Melissa is by her side in Brisbane, while Mr Jones remains in the New South Wales Northern Rivers to work and care for their other five children.
He is begging the Queensland Premier to loosen the restrictions so he can be by her side.
“Please Annastacia – have some compassion – I really want to see my daughter,” Mr Jones told Seven News. “She’s my little princess warrior.
“I miss having her in my arms, trying to make her smile.”