Secret border pass for millionaire as dying dad denied
One of Australia's top corporate highfliers was allowed to skip hotel quarantine and isolate in a luxury Brisbane residence after relocating with her family from the COVID hotspot of Victoria.
The Courier-Mail can reveal multi-millionaire former Jetstar boss Jayne Hrdlicka, who is regularly photographed alongside the rich and famous in her role as Tennis Australia chair, was granted an exemption from Queensland's strict quarantine rules on September 26.
Ms Hrdlicka is a key figure with the US-based venture capitalists, Bain Capital, who took over embattled Virgin Airlines.
The family's exemption from hotel quarantine came amid sensitive negotiations with the Palaszczuk Government over its controversial $200 million stake in the airline.
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The decision has sparked new allegations of "favouritism for the rich and famous" as Labor and the LNP end the first week of the election campaign.
It is understood Queensland Health granted the exemption to the US-born Ms Hrdlicka on compassionate grounds because her husband is battling cancer and required to undertake chemotherapy.
However, the case will further fuel public anger over the Labor Government's contentious exemption regime given it is in stark contrast with an elderly terminal brain cancer patient from Logan who was forced into hotel quarantine after major surgery in Sydney.
After the family were warned 71-year-old Gary Ralph would have to take taxis or Ubers to chemotherapy appointments, the case sparked an intervention from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and a backflip by health officials who allowed him to go home yesterday.
It came after Mr Morrison drew national attention to the case of Sarah Caisip who was refused the ability to attend her father Bernard's funeral because she lived in Canberra and was only allowed to go and see his body while wearing a face shield and under supervision.
The case prompted an emotional response from Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk about how she had lost a loved on during the global pandemic and accusations she was being bullied by the Prime Minister.
Ms Hrdlicka, who has a contentious relationship with unions following a previous senior role with Qantas, has relocated to Queensland as part of her role with Bain Capital to lead Virgin's overhaul.
She is expected to be appointed to the Virgin board, potentially as chair, however there has been speculation she may take over as chief executive and undertake significant further staff cuts as domestic border closures continue to wreak havoc on the viability of the aviation sector.
Ms Hrdlicka was photographed being picked up by a limousine when she arrived at Brisbane Airport on September 26.
The family's quarantine, including for their two sons, will officially end tomorrow.
The high-flying Ms Hrdlicka, who quit her rumoured $2-million-a-year role with New Zealand's a2 Milk late last year, has been pictured alongside celebrities including Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, tennis superstar Novak Djokovic and famed US Vogue editor Anna Wintour during Australian Open tournaments.
Queensland Health declined to comment on the specifics of the family's case citing "privacy reasons" but insisted the small number of exemptions that had been granted were primarily made on medical grounds.
"Exemptions from hotel quarantine are only granted in exceptional cases, primarily due to significant health needs of individuals concerned," a health spokesman said.
"Where an exemption has been granted, the Chief Health Officer has been satisfied the same strict quarantine conditions that are required in government-arranged accommodation were able to be met."
However, Hollywood megastar Tom Hanks and the US production crew for director Baz Luhrmann's Elvis biopic were given the green light to quarantine in their own hotel with Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young insisting the decision was made because of the economic contribution the film sector made to the Queensland economy.
Australian songstress Dannii Minogue was also allowed to quarantine in a private residence, later insisting she suffered from claustrophobia, while AFL footballers and the code's hierarchy were also granted the ability to enter Queensland.
The cases have caused repeated public outcry and the latest example of a well-heeled Australian gaining an exemption will side-swipe Labor's campaign.
The Opposition promised to introduce "common sense, consistency and compassion" into the border exemption regime.
"Annastacia Palaszczuk is cold, callous and calculating on border exemptions," Opposition health spokeswoman Ros Bates said last night.
"As a nurse I am disgusted that Gary from Logan, who needed chemotherapy after brain surgery, was refused an exemption but a corporate heavyweight gets the red carpet treatment.
"Gary was told to get an Uber with the windows down but Jayne Hrdlicka gets a stretch limo transfer to her private residence.
"This is not the Queensland I grew up in where there is one rule for the rich and famous and another rule for everyday Queenslanders."
■ Dannii Minogue is given an exemption to quarantine at a home on the Gold Coast because she has "crippling claustrophobia".
■ Broncos coach Anthony Seibold is allowed to quarantine at home in Brisbane after attending to personal matters in Sydney.
■ More than 400 AFL players and identities including league chief executive Gillon McLachlan, AFL Players Association boss Paul Marsh, a raft of AFL executives and players including Geelong superstar Gary Ablett fly into Queensland with their families. They quarantine at a luxury Gold Coast resort, sparking anger.
■ Multimillionaire former Jetstar boss Jayne Hrdlicka is granted an exemption from Queensland's strict quarantine rules on September 26. Her husband has cancer and is in need of chemotherapy.
■ Luella Gilliland, 2, is allowed to quarantine at home after open-heart surgery in Sydney - but was initially knocked back. Her mother says she will "never forgive the Queensland Government" for the stress it caused.
■ A Ballina woman's unborn twin dies after she was forced to wait 16 hours for a flight to Sydney to give birth. She was told by northern NSW health officials she would have had to go into a 14-day hotel quarantine if she travelled to Queensland, creating confusion.
■ Sunshine Coast woman Jayne Brown is forced to quarantine in a hotel after surgery to remove two brain tumours. Her doctor's plea for an exemption was denied.
■ Sarah Caisip's traumatic case makes national headlines when she is forced to view her father's body in protective equipment after she is denied an exemption for his funeral.
■ Northern NSW grandmother Elena Turner is refused permission to attend her son's funeral, instead being offered to view his body. She had offered to drive to the funeral and return to NSW.
■ Logan brain cancer patient Gary Ralph is forced into hotel quarantine after major surgery. He is later allowed to isolate at home following a change of heart by Queensland's chief health officer. He had asked Queensland Health for an exemption so he could quarantine at home, in Brisbane, after the 71-year-old's "life-extending" cancer surgery in Sydney.
Originally published as Secret border pass for high-flying millionaire as dying dad denied