The Queensland premier’s insistence on keeping borders shut is “pig-headed” and exacerbating people’s suffering, according to federal Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who has joined demands the state government relax its tough coronavirus measures.
Annastacia Palaszczuk has been accused of lacking consistency and compassion over border rules designed to contain COVID-19 in southern states.
“The premier here in Queensland is just so pig-headed and people are suffering because of it,” Mr Dutton told radio 2GB on Thursday.
His comments come after a terminally ill Brisbane father revealed only one of his four young children would be able to cross the NSW border and visit him in hospital.
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington raised the case of Mark Keanes, 39, in state parliament on Wednesday.
“They have said they may have had more luck if they were in the AFL or crew on a superyacht,” Ms Frecklington said.
Ms Palaszczuk has defended her government against accusations special quarantine treatment has been granted to AFL officials and American superstar Tom Hanks.
Ms Freckington claimed Mr 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.
Mr 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.
Helth 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.”