National News

Qld premier stakes future on hard borders

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is prepared lose the election to maintain hard borders and keep COVID-19 out of her state.

The premier has come under sustained fire from federal Coalition politicians like Prime Minister Scott Morrison, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and the state's opposition Liberal National Party over the Queensland's strict border policies in recent weeks.

Political opponents have accused Ms Palaszczuk of being heartless for not being more lenient about exemptions on compassionate grounds ahead of the election on October 31.

She's promised to speed up the exemption application process, but she will stake her political future on keeping borders shut.

"Now if it means I have to lose the election, I will risk all that if it means keeping Queenslanders safe," Ms Palaszczuk said on Monday.

"I will always stand up for what I believe to be right in this state. I'm putting myself out there, I'm putting myself on the line, but I'm making no apologies for keeping Queenslanders safe during this time."

The premier said Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia had closed borders but their governments were not under pressure to reopen.

Ms Palaszczuk accused political opponents of trying to "tear Queensland apart" because the health response to COVID-19 had left the state in better situation than others.

"In Queensland people are going about their normal jobs as if almost life was back to normal," she said.

"I'm not going to risk all of that, why would anyone risk that?"

Ms Palaszczuk's comments come as the stepsister of a woman denied permission to go to her father's funeral accused the prime minister of using her family's tragedy to advance his political agenda.

Alexandra Prendergast is the stepsister Sarah Caisip, who was in quarantine after arriving in the state from Canberra and not allowed to attend her father Bernard's funeral in Brisbane.

The prime minister on Thursday called Ms Palaszczuk asking her to intervene but she would only refer it to the chief health officer.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington asked the premier about Ms Caisip's case in state parliament on the day, and later Mr Morrison phoned 2GB radio host Ray Hadley to talk about the case live on air.

In the end, Queensland Health gave Ms Caislip, 26, permission to view her father's body, alone and dressed in full PPE, after the funeral on Thursday.

Footage and photos of Ms Caisip and her family were shown on TV news and in the newspapers.

Ms Caisip's stepsister reprimanded the prime minister and accused him of conjuring up a media storm, marring her final memories of her father.

"Mr Morrison, I am extremely disappointed that you have used my family to try and advance your political agenda. Your announcement of my father's funeral (on radio) prompted a media circus outside the crematorium at which the service was held," Ms Prendergast, 32, wrote in an open letter to the prime minister published by various media outlets.

"I am devastated that the final memories of my father have been marred by the media you have used to prosecute your political agenda."

Ms Prendergast said Mr Morrison's actions made "an absolutely devastating time for my family even harder".

"Sarah Caisip should not have been used as a tool to vilify the actions of the Queensland premier and health department" on border controls, she wrote.

Ms Prendergast called on Mr Morrison to apologise because while he highlighted her family's case "there (have) been many, many other cases that are very similar to this case where he has not intervened".

© AAP 2020