Federal parliament canned over COVID
The next sitting fortnight of federal parliament has been cancelled, due to concerns of the growing coronavirus situation in Victoria and New South Wales.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the August 4 sitting would not go ahead following advice from the acting Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Professor Paul Kelly.
"He advises that, despite proposed mitigation measures, the risks posed by a parliamentary sitting are significantly higher and unlikely to be resolved in the next month," Mr Morrison said.
The acting CMO's advice was: 'The entry of a high-risk group of individuals could jeopardise the health situation in the ACT and place residents at unnecessary risk of infection. In addition, the health risk to Members and Senators and their staff from other jurisdictions is a material concern.
"It is my medical advice that, despite proposed mitigation measures, these risks would be significantly higher in the context of a parliamentary sitting period due to the number of persons travelling from Victoria and the inevitable mixing with ACT residents, Members, Senators, staff and visitors within Parliament House."
Mr Morrison said the Government could not ignore the risk to parliamentarians, their staff, the staff within the parliament, and the broader community of the ACT.
"It is not feasible nor desirable to hold a sitting of parliament that would exclude parliamentarians from a single state," he said.
" Our Commonwealth parliament should have representatives from all members of our federation and it is the duty of Parliamentarians to attend parliament, if it is scheduled."
Parliament will next meet on August 24.
Originally published as Federal parliament canned over COVID