News National Madonna King: A Hollywood star shouldn’t fast-track anyone to preferential treatment

Madonna King: A Hollywood star shouldn’t fast-track anyone to preferential treatment

There appears to be two sets of rules when it comes to coronavirus restrictions depending on how famous are you, Madonna King writes.
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Something about a daughter being forbidden to attend her father’s funeral, while Hollywood favourite Tom Hanks gets star billing in Queensland, stinks.

So does the fact that a woman, recuperating from brain surgery, was holed up in a Brisbane hotel despite a doctor’s recommendation while the quarantine red carpet was rolled out for Dannii Minogue.

The same smell wafts around the decision to keep young boarding school children isolated from their parents for months, because of the ‘threat’ they posed to the national health recovery.

Meanwhile, AFL stars and bosses are flown into Queensland and rewarded with a luxury quarantine stay where they swim and drink and socialise, with a couple even managing to sneak out to explore the local kebabs near a strip club.

A world away, at overseas airports, Australian families keep turning up – with a ticket – at the airport to get home and find their flight cancelled.

Not too much help from our government there.

Many have been denied exemptions. Not any of those denied, at least that we know, have an address in Hollywood.

Tom Hanks was exempt from Queensland’s strict hotel quarantine. Photo: Getty

This pandemic, on policy, is favouring the privileged over the not so privileged, the big names over those we don’t know, those who don’t need help over those who do.

Border control exemptions look limited to those who have a private jet, a fat bank account, or are able to bring a bit of stardust to the Sunshine State.

Until now, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s strong border control position was painted – and taken – as an attempt to protect Queensland.

Scott Morrison and Annastacia Palaszczuk are at loggerheads over a funeral.

Her supporters said it showed her in control, putting Queenslanders first.

Her detractors reminded everyone that the state election is set down for October 31.

But now, the daily ironies in who gets to call Queensland home and who doesn’t make Ms Palaszczuk’s border control policy look like textbook hypocrisy, riddled with a lack of empathy and downright dirty politics.

It was Sarah, from Canberra, who so articulately showed up the political posturing that led to a terse phone call between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Premier.

Sarah just wondered why she couldn’t go to her father’s funeral, despite no transmitted cases in her home town for 63 days, and why her refusal was delivered in such a brutish and impersonal way.

Queensland authorities are yet to answer those questions, but it just highlighted all the other cases involving our ageing parents and sick children and faraway relatives.

In times of crisis, blanket decisions are needed.

But as this pandemic becomes part of our lives, our politicians have to be clever enough to mould decisions that allow people to live and grieve, to see their parents and receive good medical care.

And those decisions have to be transparent and accountable; they need people to believe that their decisions will help push the pandemic into the past.

Premier Daniel Andrews is under fire from the business community. Photo: AAP

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews found that out on Thursday, after it was revealed Victoria’s curfew was implemented without any input from police or the state’s chief health officer.

“The notion that the government can’t do anything whatsoever unless the chief health officer provides it in detailed advice, that doesn’t make any sense,” Mr Andrews said.

In Queensland, it’s the opposite, with the premier saying it is the chief health officer, not her, who makes all these decisions.

One federation. Two states. And rhyme or reason missing in both.

Employment policy is so important. But that doesn’t mean saying ‘goodbye’ to your dying mother, or attending the funeral of your dead father is not.

On this week’s performance, and growing proof of a policy of pandemic favouritism, Annastacia Palaszczuk might find out that come October 31, everyone’s vote is equal.

And those with a Hollywood address don’t even get to vote.

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