Parliament – Ruby Princess

Tuesday, 01 September 2020

Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (13:54):  Stephen Lavender, who lives in my electorate, is now a widower. He lost his wife, Linda, to COVID-19. They had been married for 38 years. She leaves behind their three children and four grandchildren. Unfortunately, she contracted COVID-19 on that ill-fated Ruby Princess cruise. The couple booked, for what was supposed to be a trip of a lifetime, well before the pandemic and well before anyone could predict what was to happen.

Steve said he felt a sense of dread when they departed, as their departure was delayed five hours to cleanse the terminal, but, in his words, it was his first cruise. Linda was one of the 20 Ruby Princess passengers who died. Half the deaths in South Australia were directly linked to the Ruby Princess.

Premier Berejiklian’s apology can only go so far. It does not fix some of the monumental mistakes made by officials handling the situation. Steve told the Advertiser: ‘It is not good enough just to say sorry. They should’ve quarantined everyone on the boat.’ He told me that there was no-one there—no-one from Health, no-one from Customs. ‘People from North America joined us in New Zealand, yet the only person from Border Security was the person accepting the forms of people from overseas.’

The government knew these passengers had a high chance of being exposed to the deadly virus. Steve, like many others, has questions. Why was there no-one handling the passengers? Why were there not more precautions put in place? Steve says he wants to speak to the Prime Minister personally, honestly and respectfully, to be reassured that the lessons have been learned.

The SPEAKER:  The member’s time has concluded, and I call the member for Bonner.

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