Karl Stefanovic tears into Queensland premier: 'It's gone too far'

Marni Dixit
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·4-min read

Karl Stefanovic has begged Queensland's premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to grant an exemption to a Sydney-based family whose dying father is in Brisbane.

Mark Keans' family has been asked to choose just one of their four children to say goodbye to him.

Mark Keans and his four children
Mark Keans' Sydney-based family has been asked to choose just one of their four children to say goodbye to him as he's been diagnosed with terminal brain and lung cancer in Brisbane. Photo: Nine News

The family has made the very difficult decision not to travel to Queensland after the government refused them the ability to enter the state to say their goodbyes together.

Mark's family applied for an exemption a month ago after he was first diagnosed with terminal cancer in his brain and lungs with the truck driver not expected to make it to Christmas.

So far, Queensland Health has refused all requests for the family to fly from Sydney to be by his side.

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The only proposal they've received is that one of his four children, all of whom are under 13 years old, be allowed to see their father for just one hour before going back to Sydney.

Reporter Jess Millward revealed on Today that they'd decided against that.

She said, "The family have had a discussion and they've decided that, if they all can't go say goodbye, none of them will because how could they possibly choose just one child?"

Karl Stefanovic on Today show
Karl Stefanovic has begged Queensland's premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to grant an exemption to a Sydney-based family whose dying father is in Brisbane. Photo: Nine

Mark's father Bruce Langvorne appeared on the show, revealing his son has been struggling without his family, especially as it's his twins 11th birthday today.

A father-of-four himself, Karl began an impassion plea with Ms Palaszczuk.

He said, "The Queensland Premier has difficult decisions to make, we get that, and I've supported her strength in the face of massive criticism but this is a no-brainer."

"When you have a family choosing which child should say goodbye to their father, their dad, it's gone too far. Just too far.

"Grant the exemption. The Premier is not heartless. She needs to streamline the system while protecting Queenslanders. There is a medium. Find it. Let these kids say goodbye and let a dying man say goodbye."

Bruce revealed that Mark had chosen to return home and seek palliative chemotherapy to ease his suffering.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has granted exemptions for people like Tom Hanks and AFL officials to enter to state. Photo: Getty

He added there were a few things their family was being told “unofficially” as nothing from the Queensland Government was in writing.

“One, we had too many people trying to come up. Two, we weren't allowed to drive, we had to fly in and then we probably wouldn't get out of the airport anyway, they'd send us back,” he said.

“Three, by us wanting to come and see Mark, we're being selfish and not taking any thought as to the welfare of the other cancer patients.”

Mark's sister Tam Langborne told Daily Mail Australia it was frustrating for the family who would be unable to afford the quarantine fees for 11 of them.

The quarantine fees are $2,800 for on adult, $3,710 for two adults, and $4,620 for two adults and two children.

"I understand the reasons behind the border closure but what hurts the most is actors and sporting teams get a free ride to go into Queensland because they have a name," she said referencing Tom Hanks and AFL officials who skipped hotel quarantine.

"All we want to do is sit with our brother and say thanks for a good life and for the kids to see him for the last time."

In a statement to Yahoo News Australia, a Queensland Health spokesperson said they “sympathise” with Mr Keans’s family’s situation.

“We understand and sympathise that this is a very difficult time and there are challenges,” the spokesperson said.

“We are in the midst of a global pandemic and we need to protect our communities, especially the most vulnerable members of the community.

“Queensland’s current border restrictions are in place for one purpose – to save lives. We understand the health directions in place are strict, but they are designed to protect Queenslanders from COVID-19.”

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