BORDER NIGHTMARE: Grieving son faces missing mum’s funeral

 

QUEENSLAND's militant border stance has ensnared a NSW man grieving the shock death of his mother, with his wife revealing he's all but given up hope that health authorities will allow him to attend her funeral.

Darren Budini's mother Cheryl died at Thornlands on Sunday, and after filling out paperwork for a permit to enter Queensland on compassionate grounds the day after, Mr Budini and wife Nicole Marchment bundled their two children into the car and left their Port Macquarie home.

But after a seven-hour journey, in which the family had to stop every two hours because Mr Budini has a disorder that results in life-threatening blood clots, they were refused entry at the border on Monday night.

Nicole Marchment and Darren Budini are stuck at Qld/NSW border where they are waiting in limbo until Queensland Health either denies or approves a request for Mr Budini to attend his mother’s funeral.
Nicole Marchment and Darren Budini are stuck at Qld/NSW border where they are waiting in limbo until Queensland Health either denies or approves a request for Mr Budini to attend his mother’s funeral.

"We were told by police we had the incorrect permit and to go to the next checkpoint and they would inform us what to do," Ms Marchment said. "But when we got there officers couldn't really tell us exactly what to do next. One gave us the wrong phone number for Queensland Health.

"It's just lunacy. Why aren't those on the frontline receiving people, who are often travelling under high-stress and emotional situations, able to give us clear direction on what to do next?

"We're good people, my husband is a carer in the aged and disability sector, we would never knowingly put anyone else in harm."

With two inconsolable toddlers in the car, one with autism, the couple pulled over a few metres down the road and filled out another form for an exemption on compassionate grounds and sent it to Queensland Health (QH). The family still hasn't received an official response in regards to this request.

Darren Budini with his late mother Cheryl and sister (back) Nicole Budini and her children Connor and Ebony.
Darren Budini with his late mother Cheryl and sister (back) Nicole Budini and her children Connor and Ebony.

 

The late Cheryl Budini holding her grandson Thorsen, Darren's son.
The late Cheryl Budini holding her grandson Thorsen, Darren's son.

Speaking to the Bulletin from a Tweed Heads camping ground, Ms Marchment said "in a terrifying twist" she had to rush her husband to hospital late Monday night because he developed a blood clot. But staff were unable to perform an ultrasound at that time to identify the severity of the clot and he had to return Tuesday afternoon.

"He has been administered a clot injection on top of his daily medication and needs to return. But his father died from blood clots and now his life is put at risk from just trying to get to his mother's funeral. How can this be OK?" she said.

"The system is broken in Australia. Where's the humanity?

"All I want is for my husband to be able to join his sister to grieve their mother, they only have each other now.

"We had a pass on what we thought was compassionate grounds. It was issued by a system that is obviously confusing, outdated and offering up conflicting information. Protocols are as clear as mud, especially when you're in crisis mode."

Ms Marchment said she was only contacted by QH after she wrote a post on social media about her plight, but that the person didn't "sound very positive" that they would be allowed to enter Queensland because they weren't within the travel bubble.

"It's hard because they need a date for the funeral and we haven't got one because the coroner has not released her body yet," she said.

The young mother, who said there hadn't been a case of COVID in NSW's Mid-North Coast for nearly 200 days, was also criticised on social media for not understanding the system, some accusing her of not doing her due diligence.

NSW man Darren Budini with his son, as they were turned away the Qld/NSW border on Monday night.
NSW man Darren Budini with his son, as they were turned away the Qld/NSW border on Monday night.

"Do you think I packed my autistic child in the car for a seven-hour trip, my husband with a blood disorder and deliberately gallivanted across the country to be turned around at the border and miss his mother's funeral?" she said.

"I thought I had done the right thing, at no stage did we try to enter the border illegally.

"Where's the clear protocol for people coming from outside Queensland and who are totally unfamiliar with current changes? We relied on the government website for information and it failed us."

Queensland Health and the Queensland Police have been contacted for comment.

emily.toxward@news.com.au


Originally published as Grieving son faces missing mum's funeral after border nightmare



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