Victorian MPs are expected to self isolate for a fortnight in order to attend parliament, but some are worried about them attending at all.
Victorian MPs are expected to self isolate for a fortnight in order to attend parliament, but some are worried about them attending at all.

Extraordinary rules for MPs from Victoria

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Health Minister Greg Hunt will be sent into a fortnight long self-isolation period in Canberra along with any other Victorian MPs who wish to attend the August 24 sittings of parliament.

The extraordinary requirements of MPs from Victoria to travel to the nation's capital are outlined in a letter from the Prime Minister to Parliament's Speaker and the Senate President that warns the risk of MPs and their staff bringing the virus to Canberra is significant.

Some Victorian MPs may also wear masks in parliament even when they have completed the fortnight of isolation, with some WA and SA MPs raising concerns that Victorian MPs are attending at all.

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A masked Treasurer Josh Frydenberg at Parliament House in July. NCA NewsWire /Picture Gary Ramage
A masked Treasurer Josh Frydenberg at Parliament House in July. NCA NewsWire /Picture Gary Ramage

The Prime Minister said today the advice from the acting chief medical officer Paul Kelly was clear and would require Victorians to isolate or remain at home.

"His advice is that for the relevant parliamentarians a quarantine period of two weeks in Canberra, or in their home, in addition to COVID-19 testing, should be conducted prior to sitting,'' Mr Morrison wrote.

"He notes that significant risks remain for Members and Senators, and their staff, staff who work in parliament and the wider ACT community."

In his original letter to the Prime Minister, Professor Kelly noted that the outbreak in Victoria was getting worse and a two-week period of isolation was mandatory.

Health Minister Greg Hunt and other Victorian MPs will be expected to self isolate. Picture: Sam Mooy / Getty Images
Health Minister Greg Hunt and other Victorian MPs will be expected to self isolate. Picture: Sam Mooy / Getty Images

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"The situation in Victoria is not improving at this time. The travel of Members and Senators from Victoria to the ACT at this time presents a significant risk to ACT residents, particularly those who work in Parliament House,'' he wrote.

"My advice is that a 14 day strict period of quarantine is required. My preference is that the 14 days quarantine should occur in the ACT as per the ACT guidelines for any visitor arriving from Victoria, however this could also occur in Victoria as long as the strict conditions are adhered to."

While in home quarantine, nobody from the household can leave the home for any reason and no one is allowed to visit.

Health Minister Greg Hunt confirmed today that he planned to self-isolate in Canberra within days.

"I will. No special rules, no exemption for me,'' he said on Thursday.

"For colleagues, I'll leave that to them. I don't know the decision of individuals in that situation.

In correspondence with the Leader of Government business Christian Porter, Mr Burke has called for a video conference facility to be set up to allow MPs who can't attend to make a contribution.

"These necessary conditions to minimise the risks associated with COVID-19 mean that many Members who wish to come to Canberra are unable to, particularly those with dependants or caring responsibilities,'' he said.

"Still other members will choose not to attend parliament out of an abundance of caution.

"Therefore, it is appropriate to consider whether limited accommodation can be made for Members unable to attend the House physically to make a remote contribution to debate."

Originally published as Extraordinary rules for MPs from Victoria



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