The daughter of a Queensland man whose funeral was at the core of a federal-state dispute over border closures accused Scott Morrison of “advance his political agenda”. using the case.
In an open letter to the prime minister, Alexandra Prendergast said that his acts were ““absolutely disrespectful” towards families who had not been given permission to attend the funerals of relatives.
It was “heartbreaking,” Prendergast said, that the prime minister had “presented himself as being empathetic and understanding” but had not understood the consequences of his family members actions.
The funeral of Bernard Prendergast became the new battleground in the dispute between the federal government and the Queensland Premier after it was announced that one of his daughters, Sarah Caisip, was refused a hotel quarantine exemption to attend the ceremony.
Morrison was attempting to discuss an exemption with Annastacia Palaszczuk after she talked to the media about her condition and wrote to the prime minister.
“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,” Alexandra Prendergast, Bernard’s eldest child said.
“I am devastated that the final memories of my father have been marred by the media you have used to prosecute your political agenda.”
“I’m his daughter – if anyone should have been told it should have been me. I would never have allowed photos of myself at my father’s funeral to be used by anyone.”
A spokesman for the prime minister said Morrison had spoken publicly about Caisip’s case only after the Queensland premier did so.
“The prime minister is very sorry for the family’s loss. His intervention was intended to be made only directly to the premier as he has done on dozens of other cases. It is unfortunate that the premier chose to refer to her conversation with the prime minister in the parliament.
“The prime minister’s preference was that this matter be handled discreetly. The prime minister wishes Alexandra and her family every comfort and condolence at this very difficult time.”