Hollywood actor Tom Hanks (with wife Rita Wilson) found himself at the centre of a row over Queensland’s border closures after being allowed into the state without going into hotel quarantine
Queensland’s deputy premier has again criticised Prime Minister Scott Morrison for wanting the border restrictions eased – after confirming the state recorded zero new COVID cases overnight.
Steven Miles said it was clear that the state and federal Liberal party were running a ‘political campaign’ to open state borders, even if it meant going directly against the advice of chief health officer Jeanette Young.
There were no new coronavirus cases recorded in the Sunshine State in the 24 hours to Sunday morning.
Queensland appears to have contained several potentially catastrophic outbreaks, and credits its hard border closure for keeping Queenslanders safe throughout the pandemic.
The government hopes to have borders open by Christmas, but have not set any firm guidelines or dates for when visitors from southern states will be welcome.
‘I’d like to see the borders open too, by Christmas, but only if the health advice says that’s safe. Not just because of a political campaign from the LNP. Not just because it’s what Scott Morrison wants,’ Mr Miles said.
He reminded the public that ‘every state has some sort of border restriction right now… the LNP at both a state and federal level are running a campaign to get our borders open.’
Queensland recorded zero new coronavirus cases on Sunday. The state’s deputy premier Steven Miles (pictured) accused Scott Morrison of running a ‘campaign’ to open the borders
Sunday’s update comes after Mr Miles accused Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton of ‘lying’ about who really let Hollywood actor Tom Hanks into the country.
The A-lister entered Queensland from the US on Tuesday night and was granted an exemption from the state’s strict border legislation.
As part of his exemption, he was allowed to undergo his mandatory quarantine at a resort in Broadbeach rather than an official state facility.
Hanks touched down in the Gold Coast alongside cast, crew and 11 family members to continue filming an Elvis Presley biopic directed by Baz Luhrmann.
Mr Dutton attacked the Queensland government on Friday over the star’s exemption.
‘If you are Tom Hanks from California, you are okay. If you are Tom Hanks from Chermside or Castle Hill, sorry, you are not coming in,’ he said.
Federal Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton (pictured) lashed out at the Queensland government for allowing celebrities to enter the state but keeping ordinary families apart
Mr Miles hit back at the Home Affairs Minister on Saturday, saying the Australian Border Force actually needed to have granted him permission to enter the country.
‘And what that means is that when Peter Dutton launched that extraordinary attack during the week, he was lying.
‘He was saying that it was us that let Tom Hanks in, when in fact it was him and his own department that let Tom Hanks in,’ Mr Miles claimed.
Mr Miles also suggested the LNP – and Mr Morrison – had launched a ‘planned and orchestrated’ attack against Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk ahead of the state’s election.
He asked if Mr Morrison ‘had ever cried’ over the deaths in aged care housing or the Ruby Princess debacle, before suggesting the state opposition would put the lives of Queenslanders at risk if they were in power.
‘The real question here is… for Deb Frecklington. If she were premier, who would she be listening to,’ he asked.
‘She seems to be saying that she wouldn’t be listening to the chief health officer – that she would be making these decisions herself, without the advice.
‘Does that mean she would just open the borders even if the chief health officer said it was unsafe to do so?’
Deputy Premier Steven Miles (pictured) said Mr Dutton was ‘lying’ and it was his department and the Australian Border Force who granted Hanks permission to enter the state
Hanks will portray Elvis’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker, in the blockbuster movie scheduled for release in 2021.
Addressing anger over perceived double standards in Queensland’s border policy, chief health officer Dr Young said the state needed ‘every single dollar’ it could get from rich celebrities wanting to do business in Queensland.
‘I have given exemptions for people in entertainment and film because that is bringing a lot of money into this state and, can I say, we need every single dollar in our state,’ she said in her Thursday press conference.
‘If it is safe, I look at how it can be done and whether that is the AFL, the NRL, whether it is swimming, tennis – all of the sports – cricket recently because we are coming into that season,’ Dr Young said.
‘Anyone can come into Queensland who has got a reason to come in that meets one of our requirements.
‘I have given exemptions to people in the sporting industry for a whole range of codes because it is important that we start that work, but they all go into quarantine.’
Queensland’s borders are closed to Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has also come under fire for inconsistency on border rules after letting hundreds of AFL players, WAGs and staff enter Queensland via special luxury quarantine while keeping ordinary families apart.
The premier refused to take any responsibility for her border decisions and said Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young made the call to prevent nurse Sarah Caisip from farewelling her father with her family in Brisbane on Thursday.
Ms Caisip, who lives in coronavirus-free Canberra, applied for an exemption last month to visit her sick father Bernard Prendergast in Brisbane – but it took 20 days to get approved and he died of liver cancer two days before her flight.
Mr Hanks (pictured left with wife Rita) is filming an Elvis Presley biopic on the Gold Coast
Sarah Caisip (in yellow) was allowed to have a private viewing of her father’s body, dressed in PPE and with security guards minding her. She was not allowed to greet her family
The young woman, who is in hotel quarantine in Brisbane, was banned from attending her father’s funeral on Thursday because officials believe she is a COVID-19 risk.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison had asked Ms Palaszczuk to make an exception but the premier refused and accused him of ‘bullying and intimidating’ her.
‘I said to the prime minister, I would refer it to the chief health officer and I did that,’ Ms Palaszczuk said on Friday morning.
Queensland chief health officer Jeannette Young has defended granting exemption to Hollywood staff and AFL players because they provide revenue for the state.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Mr Dutton and the Department of Home Affairs for comment.
Queensland’s border madness: The heartbroken families
Mark Keans, from Brisbane, was diagnosed with inoperable brain and lung cancer in late July and the doctors believe he won’t make it past Christmas.
Health authorities had initially said only one of Mr Keans’ four Sydney-based children – all of whom are under the age of 13 – could cross the border to see him one last time.
Queensland Health did not at first respond to multiple requests for an exemption from the truck driver’s family, but later told them they can drive into the state and pay for two weeks quarantine in a Brisbane hotel.
A fundraising page to pay for their quarantine has raised more than $200,000, including a $1,000 donation from Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Mr Keans pictured with his children (L-R) Noah 13, Caitlyn 11, Caleb 11, and Isaac, 7
Kimberley Brown and her husband Scott, from Ballina, in northern New South Wales, were told on August 12 that their unborn twins had developed twin to twin transfusion syndrome.
Mrs Brown needed urgent surgery but despite living just two hours away from Queensland’s Mater Hospital doctors told her she would need to apply for a border exemption, which took too long.
She was flown 750km to Sydney but lost one of her twins.
It came ten days after Premier Palaszczuk declared that Queensland hospitals are ‘for our people’.
Kimberley Brown and her husband Scott, from Ballina, in northern NSW, learned that they had lost their unborn baby after being forced to travel 750kms because of Queensland’s border restrictions
Jayne Brown, 60, spent two weeks confined to a tiny hotel room in Brisbane following her recent return from Sydney, where renowned neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo removed two large tumours on her brain.
The grandmother-of-seven requested an exemption from hotel quarantine to self-isolate at home on the Sunshine Coast, but was rejected twice.
She blasted Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who allowed 400 AFL players and officials from coronavirus-riddled Victoria to enter the state and quarantine in a luxury hotel.
Jayne Brown described the decision to allow 400 AFL officials into Queensland as mindblowing
Sarah Caisip, who lives in coronavirus-free Canberra, applied for an exemption last month to visit her sick father Bernard Prendergast in Brisbane – but it took 20 days to get approved and he died of liver cancer two days before her flight.
The young nurse was banned from attending her father’s funeral on Thursday because officials believed she is a Covid-19 risk even though the ACT has had no cases for 60 days.
Ms Caisip was only granted a private viewing of her father’s body, surrounded by guards and forbidden from seeing her shattered mother and 11-year-old sister.
Sarah Caisip was only granted a private viewing of her father’s body, surrounded by guards