Grieving daughter given last-minute exemption to ‘private viewing’ of father’s body

UPDATE @ 1.15 PM | A young woman who was told by the State Government that she would not be allowed to attend her father’s funeral this afternoon will now be given a private viewing.

Sarah Caisip arrived in Queensland from Canberra last week in a bid to see her severely ill father before he lost his battle with cancer.

The 26-year-old was given an exemption from Queensland Health to enter the sunshine state to say goodbye to her father in hospital.


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However, it allegedly took around 20 days for the exemption to be granted, and the young woman’s father passed away while she was completing her 14-day quarantine in a Brisbane hotel.

The grieving daughter applied for a separate exemption to attend her father’s funeral in Mt Gravatt at 2.00pm this afternoon and was denied by health officials.

It prompted the Prime Minister to issue a desperate plea to the Premier of Queensland this morning, begging her to overrule the “heartbreaking” decision.

“This is a heartbreaking story, I rang the Premier this morning and I have appealed to her to overrule the decision that would allow Sarah to go to the funeral today,” an emotional Scott Morrison told Nine radio.

“It isn’t about the Premier of Queensland, and me and anyone else… With everything that everyone is going through surely just this once this can be done.

“The only thing that matters today is that Sarah can be with her 11-year-old sister and her mother while they mourn the passing of their father and husband.”

The Health Minister’s office confirmed to myGC at 1.00pm today that Sarah would be allowed to have a private viewing on her own at the funeral home, but will not be allowed to attend the service with her family.

The spokesperson said Queensland Health would escort the woman to and from the hotel where she is completing her quarantine to the funeral home.

EARLIER @ 11.30 AM | The Prime Minister has issued a desperate plea to the Premier of Queensland, begging her to overrule a “heartbreaking” decision that has denied a young woman the opportunity to attend her father’s funeral this afternoon.

Sarah Caisip arrived in Queensland from Canberra last week in a bid to see her severely ill father before he lost his battle with cancer.

The 26-year-old was given an exemption from Queensland Health to enter the sunshine state to say goodbye to her father in hospital.

However, it allegedly took around 20 days for the exemption to be granted and by the time the young woman arrived in Queensland her father had already passed away.

Sarah is still completing her mandatory 14-day quarantine in a Brisbane hotel, but in news that has shocked the country today, the young woman’s exemption to stay in the state has now been revoked following her father’s passing.

Sarah, who grew up in Brisbane and only moved to the ACT in February, is now fighting to be by the side of her 11-year-old sister and mother at her father’s funeral in Mt Gravatt at 2.00pm this afternoon.

“They said I shouldn’t even be in Queensland because the exemption for me to come to Queensland was to say goodbye to my dying Father, not to go to the funeral,” Sarah told Nine.

The Prime Minister has joined a chorus of people pleading for the State Government to show some compassion and make an exemption for a grieving daughter.

“This is a heartbreaking story, I rang the Premier this morning and I have appealed to her to overrule the decision that would allow Sarah to go to the funeral today,” an emotional Scott Morrison told Nine radio.

“It isn’t about the Premier of Queensland, and me and anyone else…With everything that everyone is going through surely just this once this can be done.

“I hoped that she’d [Annastacia Palaszczuk] form a different view when I spoke to her this morning… She hadn’t at that time, I hope she will reconsider before 2pm today,” Mr Morrison said.

“The only thing that matters today is that Sarah can be with her 11-year-old sister and her mother while they mourn the passing of their father and husband.”

“I understand the process for her to get an exemption to travel to the state took 20 days and sadly she missed that opportunity to say farewell to her Dad,” Mr Morrison said.

Speaking in State Parliament this morning, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would not be “bullied” by the Prime Minister.

“I will not be bullied, nor will I be intimidated by the Prime Minster of this country who contacted me this morning,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“I made very clear to the fact that it was not my decision and that I will pass the information on to the Chief Health Officer and that it is the Chief Health Officer’s decision to make.”

There have been no coronavirus cases in the ACT for more than 60 days.