The stepsister of a woman who was denied permission to attend her father’s funeral has accused Scott Morrison of turning a family tragedy into a media circus.
Alexandra Prendergast is upset camera crews hid in bushes outside the Brisbane service for her late father Bernard Prendergast on Thursday.
That morning, the Prime Minister had told Sydney radio 2GB broadcaster Ray Hadley a funeral would be held at 2pm in Mount Gravatt.
‘I think the issue here has been his [Mr Morrison’s] involvement of the media and how he has really rallied and I guess advertised the funeral which I don’t think is appropriate,’ Ms Prendergast told The Project on Network Ten on Monday.
Alexandra Prendergast (pictured) is upset media crews hid in bushes outside the Brisbane service for her late father Bernard Prendergast on Thursday
‘A funeral is a very private time. I’m grieving. I don’t think it’s appropriate at all for him to announce and kind of inform the media of the location and the time so that they could come and take photos. It’s very insensitive.’
What Scott Morrison told a radio interview
‘The only thing that matters today is that Sarah can be with her 11 year old sister, Isobel, and her mother, Myrna, while they mourn the passing of their father and husband, Bernard, at Mount Gravatt today,’ the Prime Minister told Sydney radio 2GB’s Ray Hadley on September 10.
‘I rang the Premier this morning and I hoped that she would form a different view.
‘She hadn’t at that time. I hope she’ll reconsider before two o’clock today, Ray.’
Alexandra Prendergast’s stepsister Sarah Caisip, a 26-year-old Canberra nurse, was denied a permit from the Queensland government to enter the state to see her dying father, even though the Australian Capital Territory has been COVID-19-free since July 10.
State health officials stopped Ms Caisip from leaving her Brisbane hotel quarantine to grieve with her 11-year-old sister Isobel Prendergast and her mother Myrna Prendergast.
She was only allowed to view her father’s body 20 minutes after the funeral dressed in personal protective equipment on RU OK? Day.
Ms Caisip had earlier written a scathing open letter to Queensland Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk after her government denied her permission to see her dying father or attend his funeral.
‘My dad is dead and you made me fight to see him, but it was too late and now you won’t let me go to his funeral or see my devastated 11-year-old sister,’ she said.
‘You won’t listen and your government is destroying my life.
‘My little sister is now without my support and I will never forgive you.’
Despite that public criticism of the Queensland government from her stepsister, Alexandra Prendergast continued to blame Mr Morrison.
That morning, the Prime Minister had told Sydney radio 2GB broadcaster Ray Hadley a funeral would be held at 2pm in Mount Gravatt. The late Bernard Prendergast’s 11-year-old grieving daughter Isobel Prendegast is pictured far left with her mother Myrna Prendergast (second right)
Ms Palaszczuk revealed to the Queensland Parliament on Thursday morning, the day before the funeral, that Mr Morrison had called her pleading for Ms Caisip to be allowed to attend her father’s funeral.
‘I will not be bullied and nor will I be intimidated by the Prime Minister of this country who contacted me this morning,’ she said.
Asked about that, Ms Prendergast defended Ms Palaszczuk and said Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington was the one who told Parliament a funeral would be held at 2pm on Thursday.
Alexandra Prendergast’s stepsister Sarah Caisip, a 26-year-old Canberra nurse, was denied a permit from the Queensland government to enter the state to see her dying father, even though the Australian Capital Territory has been COVID-19-free since July 10. She is pictured wearing a face shield to view her father’s body after the service
‘I believe it was the Opposition Leader at the time that raised the time of the funeral,’ she said.
‘Annastacia Palaszczuk did respond but there were no further details mentioned of the location or the time of the funeral.’
Ms Prendergast also revealed her grandmother also died suddenly on September 1, the day before her father lost an 11-week battle with cancer – with her sister and an aunt denied Queensland border passes without a media spotlight.
In a separate interview on the ABC’s 7.30 program, Alexandra Prendergast accused Mr Morrison of using the family tragedy to score political points against a Labor state government.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told the Queensland Parliament on Thursday morning, the day before the funeral, that Mr Morrison had called her pleading for Ms Caisip to be allowed to attend her father’s funeral. She is pictured during a July session of question time
‘It’s quite clear that this was orchestrated in order to maximise media coverage and I guess provide Scott Morrison with a campaign against the Queensland Premier,’ she said.
In the Queensland Parliament on Thursday Ms Palaszczuk, facing an election on October 31, accused Ms Frecklington’s Opposition Liberal National Party of co-ordinating a political attack with the Prime Minister’s office.
‘My question to the Leader of the Opposition is: did anyone from the Prime Minister’s office contact the Leader of the Opposition? We know everything is coordinated these days. To use the personal tragedy of this family is disgusting,’ she said.