by Pumicestone MP Simone Wilson
Dominating September headlines were border fights and decisions on quarantine exemptions in what many, including myself, viewed as lacking common sense, consistency and compassion.
Whilst I am loathed to add to the myriad commentary around the plight of young Sarah unable to attend her beloved father's funeral, it will be quite a while before the images of this young woman being ushered into the funeral place in hazmat suit to view her deceased father whilst her mother and little sister looked on from afar, will her leave our minds.
September was also a month where the struggles of many of our locals facing similar circumstances to Sarah came to my attention. Who would have ever imagined that in 2020 a government that is meant to be for the people would prioritise celebrities and AFL entourages over its own citizens, the very ones who pay their dues to keep our state running!
Some who have contacted me have expressed the view that what is occurring has now gone beyond any politically motivated strategy to enter us into a world akin to a psychological science fiction drama.
There have been many locals with genuine circumstances for exemption and my office is doing our best to support and assist them in their time of need. Like one local man who flies to NSW for work and was denied an exemption to be at his wife’s side for the unplanned caesarean birth of his child. It was only after much hoopla that he was finally given permission to attend the birth on the proviso he went straight back to quarantine in Brisbane. Where on earth is the common sense here! So it is ok for him to attend a public hospital but not ok for him to go home with his wife and new child to finish his quarantine time. If we even have a sniffle we are asked to quarantine ourselves in our own home whilst we wait testing results, not in expensive accommodation in Brisbane.
And like the son of an elderly local lady who recently lost her husband. Despite weeks of trying to come to Queensland to be with his mother (and many booked flights having to be cancelled) he is still trying to get here. He’s not coming from a hotspot, in fact like young Sarah, he too was travelling from an area with no known COVID19 cases but still unable to be by his ageing mum’s side at her greatest time of need.
This isn’t about “bullying” the Premier as she puts it. It’s about imploring her to ensure that the officials making these decisions are getting it right and her stepping in when common sense, consistency and compassion fails. This is something the Premier has not been prepared to do yet is exactly why we have a Government in Queensland with public sector oversight responsibilities.
It is not ok in my book for our Chief Health Officer to admit to giving special treatment to Tom Hanks and the AFL entourage because “entertainment and film bring a lot of money into this state”. Add to this the special treatment Danny Minogue received - just how she boosts Queensland's economy is anyone’s guess! These are the overt displays of inconsistency, lack of common sense and compassion that the Premier wants us to accept.
Our health is indeed the most important thing - there is no disputing this. But as the leader of our State, the Premier should not be saying that no one wants to hear stories like Sarah's. Rather she should welcome these personal stories as this is exactly what the Premier and all elected representatives are paid to do - to listen to people, take on board their circumstances, then ensure the public administration is in fact acting with common sense, consistency and compassion. Anything short of this is simply letting us all down.
Simone Wilson MP