'Has he ever cried': Dep Premier takes swipe at ScoMo

 

Deputy Premier Steven Miles has attacked Prime Minister Scott Morrison over his "extraordinary" criticism of Annastacia Palaszczuk and her refusal to allow a woman to attend her father's funeral.

It comes as Queensland records three new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, which are all contacts of existing cases in the Brisbane cluster and are in quarantine. Thirteen people remain in hospital, while Queensland has recorded 1149 total cases since the pandemic started.

Mr Miles labelled Mr Morrison's attack as "planned and orchestrated" leading up to the Queensland election.

He asked if Mr Morrison "had ever cried" over issues such as aged care deaths or the Ruby Princess disaster.

It comes after the Prime Minister was on the verge of tears in an interview with radio broadcaster Ray Hadley discussing Canberra woman Sarah Caisip, who was initially refused an exemption to attend her father's funeral.

Deputy Premier Steven Miles
Deputy Premier Steven Miles

Mr Miles said arrangements around funerals were some of the hardest.

"We do provide exemptions for people to come here for funerals but they have to quarantine," he said.

"These are the arrangements that we have to have in place to keep our community safe.

"Funerals have been very, very difficult."

Mr Miles said Queensland's border restrictions would be reviewed at the end of this month.

In terms of reopening the border to NSW, Mr Miles said Queensland would be looking at the number of cases across the border diagnosed outside of quarantine and the number that could not be sourced to a known cluster, rather than the total number of infections.

Mr Miles said Queensland was handling thousands of requests for exemptions to the state's tough public health restrictions.

"Some of them will be denied," he said.

"We allow anyone who needs emergency care to come in without an exemption."

Mr Miles said the last case in Queensland that was diagnosed outside of quarantine was last Tuesday.

He defended Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young in her decisions on exemptions to keep industries going.

"There are a number of important industries that we have been able to keep operating to deliver COVIDsafe plans to keep their jobs," Mr Miles said.

"Queensland's economy right now is propping up the national economy."

Queensland has recorded three new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, taking the total number of active cases to 31.

Thirteen people remain in hospital, while Queensland has recorded 1149 total cases since the pandemic started.

The latest case numbers are released as Transport Minister Mark Bailey defends the Queensland Government's 'cruel' border restrictions saying 'politicians should not make health decisions about COVID'.

Mr Bailey said decisions about denying families of dying people entry to Queensland were 'unpopular' but required to keep Queensland safe.

While today's COVID-19 cases update won't be announced until 1pm by the Deputy Premier and Minister for Health Steven Miles, Mr Bailey defended decisions saying "a second wave remains a possibility if we mismanage the COVID crisis".

"There's unpopular decisions but the results have been very effective to date," he said during a press conference today.

"We have to let doctors make the decisions.

'Politicians should not be making health decisions about COVID."

Mr Bailey said funerals posed a high risk for spread of coronavirus, particularly given elderly people were often among the majority of those who attended.

"The best way, the most compassionate way of dealing with this crisis is to stop more funerals from occurring, I know it's difficult, we all know it's incredibly difficult for people in circumstances where they've lost someone they love, but we don't want more funerals," he said.

"Queensland is one of the best jurisdictions in the world in terms of responding to the COVID crisis, the reason we are one of the best in the world is that from day one when we declared a health emergency, the first state in Australia to do so, we have listened to and acted on health advice from the very beginning.

"That's why there's been so few deaths in Queensland and we've been one of the best jurisdictions in the world.

"That model is something that we absolutely need to continue, we don't need politicians making decisions about the COVID crisis, we need doctors to be making those decisions. "

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has described the cases of Sarah Caisip andm Mark Keans as ‘heartbreaking’ but has remained firm in her border stance. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Attila Csaszar
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has described the cases of Sarah Caisip andm Mark Keans as ‘heartbreaking’ but has remained firm in her border stance. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Attila Csaszar

It comes as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk faces increasing pressure over Queensland's tough border rules that have been branded 'heartless' after scores of stories emerged of grieving people denied entry to Queensland to farewell loved ones.

Ms Palaszczuk has come under fire for using the chief medico as a "human shield" over compassionate border exemptions, while repeatedly claiming she makes no apology for her tough stance on borders.

In the 48 hours since the Government's refusal to allow Canberra woman Sarah Caisip attend the funeral of her father drew a national outcry, the Premier passed the buck to Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young at least seven times - saying it was Dr Young who made the decision.

It has left lingering questions over who is in charge, with Coalition figures saying the state's compassionate exemption process was "cold hearted, nasty and cruel" as they ramp up the pressure on the strict border restrictions.

There have been just 229 exemptions granted for specialist workers, health care and compassionate grounds, compared to 31,000 for freight movements.

Mr Bailey admitted the decisions are "unpopular" but they need to be made to ensure public health.

"There has been tremendous pressure on the Premier, the Chief Health Officer, the Health Minister since January, every day they've been focused on saving lives in Queensland, of course there's tremendous pressure, the results have been extraordinary in Queensland compared to any other state and any other country," he said.

"What I say to people is the most compassionate thing is we've got to save lives and stop more funerals and we've listened to the health advice and what I see today from a range of Morrison Government Ministers is they either don't understand or don't care what the model is for Queensland that has delivered such a good outcome in terms of health.

"That is we work closely with the Chief Health Officer, we don't as politicians make the decisions, we let the heath experts, the doctors make decisions and some of them are really hard decisions and some of them are unpopular, but they are the things that save lives and that's the objective here."

Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deb Frecklington
Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deb Frecklington

Mr Bailey said he backs the Chief Health Officer's decisions, saying she has done a "fantastic job".

"I absolutely endorse the model that was decided in Queensland in January and that is we listen and act on the health advice of the Chief Health Officer who has done a fantastic job, and there's unpopular decisions there, but the results have been very effective," he said.

"People are certainly tired and it's been a difficult year... What we've got to do is continue to stop infections and stop deaths.

"The health advice in terms of funerals is with a lot of people grieving, and hugging, and a lot of senior citizens, that's why the health advice is they are high risk events.

"There's a lot of people already over six months that have not been able to go to funerals, it's very hard for everyone."

Mr Bailey took aim at opposition leader Deb Frecklington, saying her "credibility in terms of COVID is very, very low".

"We all know that Deb Frecklington's view is to open the borders, she called for it 64 times at the time when Victoria's cases were surging she was still saying open the borders," he said.

"Deb Frecklingtons credibility in terms of COVID is very, very low."

The latest coronavirus cases recorded in Queensland overnight are set to be revealed later today.

It follows no new cases yesterday but eight the day before as the Brisbane clusters continued to grow.

Authorities however remain confident there is little community transmission and the clusters would soon be resolved.

Mr Frecklington fired back by slamming Annastacia Palasczcuk for her 'inconsistency' in handling border exemptions.

She said the Premier should "have some common sense".

"The stories that we've heard in the last couple of days are really heartbreaking, in fact there've been heartbreaking stories the whole way through this pandemic that is COVID-19," she said.

"The Premier made herself into the victim, instead of realising that the victims are the people that can't attend their family's funeral".

She said the most distressing part about families missing funerals was that, in most cases, the people wanting to cross the border were not coming from COVID-19 hot spots.

"What we need here is consistency in decision making, if you are Tom Hanks, an AFL executive, a celebrity or someone according to the Premier that is going to bring money into the state, they get exemptions".

"Yet those who just want to go and attend a family funeral, they can't get an exemption, and especially when they're not coming from a covid hotspot it's particularly galling".

Opening morning of the Stage 2 of the Gold Coast light rail (g:link). Mark Bailey MP and Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate talking. Picture: Jerad Williams
Opening morning of the Stage 2 of the Gold Coast light rail (g:link). Mark Bailey MP and Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate talking. Picture: Jerad Williams


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