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Why brothers picketed Mulherin's state funeral over father's burial

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David and Peter McFaul wanted to bury their father — instead, they showed up at the state funeral of former Queensland politician Tim Mulherin to send a message to the Premier concerning the state’s borders.

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The brothers, holding a photo of their father and a sign that read “I want to bury my Dad, Anna”, were seeking the attention of Annastacia Palaszczuk who spoke at the service at Saint Patrick’s Church in Mackay.

David McFaul said they had delayed their father’s funeral by two weeks so their sister, Sandra, could attend.

“The Premier’s got to open the border up. She’s got to be a bit more compassionate,” he said.

“There just needs to be more leniency for people who need to go to see dying relatives [or] funerals.”

Their sister has been forced to quarantine, even though her inner-western Sydney suburb of Annandale does not have active COVID-19 cases.

While the McFauls said they could not change their circumstances, they wanted other families to be exempted from having to quarantine for 14 days if travelling to attend funerals or visiting terminally ill relatives.

“Ordinary Australians like us and thousands of others that are voiceless, who don’t feel like they can say anything, are suffering,” Ms McFaul said.

Ms McFaul, who is quarantining at a Mackay airport hotel, said that despite Ms Palaszczuk’s own loss, the Premier did not know how it felt for people in her situation.

“She lost her grandma in June, but she hasn’t had to fight to get into Queensland,” Ms McFaul said.

“She hasn’t spent 14 days in a quarantine hotel. She hasn’t had to stick her head out the door and ask a police officer: ‘Can I have some outside time?’

“It’s above politics. It’s for humanity.”

The Premier has repeatedly defended her Government’s stance on borders, and today said she would advise Queensland Health’s exemptions unit to examine the McFauls’ case.

However, she did not back away from her border policy. “Tasmania is completely closed, Western Australia is completely closed. We are closed to Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT — it’s to keep Queenslanders safe,” she said.

Local federal MP George Christensen said while he was sympathetic to the McFauls’ situation, their protest was wrong.

“I’m not going to condone a protest outside of a funeral. That’s beyond the pale,” he said.

– ABC / Myles Houlbrook-Walk and Ollie Wykeham

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