Tony Abbott has branded state border closures as ‘heartless and mind-boggling’.
The former prime minister said states with low coronavirus case numbers should open up to each other.
Last week Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was slammed for refusing to let a 26-year-old nurse from Covid-free Canberra go to her father’s Brisbane funeral.
Several other stories have emerged of families being torn apart by border closures, including a father dying of cancer who was told that only one of his four children in New South Wales could visit him in Queensland.
Tony Abbott (pictured with this family when he was elected in 2013) has branded state border closures as ‘heartless and mind-boggling’
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
‘We are now seeing the heartless and mind-boggling bureaucratic bloody-mindedness that goes with these border closures,’ Mr Abbott told The Australian.
‘That New South Welshmen coming from a state with almost no cases and going into a state with almost no cases should be seen as somehow toxic to Queenslanders is simply crazy.’
The 62-year-old also said that Scott Morrison should lift the ban on Australian citizens and permanent residents going overseas unless they are exempt.
He said the rules should be ‘liberalised as soon as possible’ – but he supported quarantine remaining in place for Australians returning home.
Premier Palaszczuk cheered and wooped when Brisbane was granted the AFL final and she let hundreds of staff enter the state – while keeping ordinary families apart
Mr Abbott is currently in hotel quarantine in Sydney after returning from a trip to the UK, where has has been appointed a trade advisor.
The 62-year-old will be tasked with helping Britain strike trade deals with nations around the world, including Australia, after leaving the European Union.
Mr Abbott lost his seat in Warringah, on Sydney’s northern beaches, at the federal election in May 2018 and has been looking for a job since.
During Australia’s devastating summer of bushfires, he filled his time by volunteering as a fireman with his local rural fire service branch.
Australia’s state border closures
Victoria: Completely open, but other states are banning residents from going there
NSW: Border with Victoria is closed but others are open without restriction
Queensland: Open to everywhere but Victoria, NSW, and the ACT
Northern Territory: Open to everywhere but Victoria and Sydney, which must do hotel quarantine
South Australia: Closed to Victoria, NSW arrivals must self-isolate, rest are open
Tasmania: Closed to Victoria, everywhere else must do hotel quarantine
Western Australia: Closed to everywhere without an exemption
Mr Abbott (pictured working as a volunteer fireman) lost his seat in Warringah, on Sydney’s northern beaches, at the federal election in May 2018 and has been looking for a job since then
Questions have now been raised about whether Mr Abbott will have to register as an agent of foreign influence under Australia’s transparency laws.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison brushed off those questions earlier last month, simply saying the appointment was a ‘good hire’.
‘I’ll leave that for the attorney-general to sort out and I’m sure there’s paperwork for Tony to fill out – I’m sure he’ll get that done,’ the prime minister told reporters in Canberra.
‘But well done Boris, good hire.’
The UK is currently negotiating trade deals with Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the United States.
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