MPs kicked out of parliament and forced to get COVID tests
AN angry letter from Herbet MP Phillip Thompson has led to four Labor MPs and senators who attended Black Lives Matter rallies being forced to leave parliament and get tested for COVID-19.
The Labor leadership gave the marching orders to Queenslanders Graham Perrett and Anika Wells and Northern Territory pollies Malarndirri McCarthy and Warren Snowdon after inquiries from Speaker Tony Smith.
Mr Smith's interest was prompted after Mr Thompson fired off a strongly-worded letter this morning, raising concerns about Mr Perrett's attendance at the Brisbane BLM rally on Saturday with about 30,000 protesters.
"I therefore believe it's not appropriate or safe for the Member to be allowed into the Chamber or the Parliament House building due to the possibility he may have the virus and spread it to other occupants," Mr Thompson wrote.
He cited Mr Smith's efforts to make parliament COVID safe and said Mr Perrett's presence "puts all that work at risk and risks the safety of everyone in Parliament House," he said.
"I respectfully ask that you exclude him from the Chamber and Parliament House for the remainder of the sitting period."
It's understood Mr Smith contacted the Chief Opposition Whip soon but did not make any orders for the politicians to get tested.
But the call sparked an order from the Labor leadership for the four to leave and get tested.
Mr Perrett had appeared on Sky News earlier this morning and said he had no symptoms and not been in contact with anyone with coronavirus so did not see a need to get tested or leave parliament.
Labor Leader Anthony Albanese said all four had "followed the health advice at the rally" and were being tested "out of an abundance of caution".
Greens Senator Janet Rice, who also attended a BLM rally, has remained in Parliament House.
Coronavirus tests usually take between 36 to 72 hours for a result.
Originally published as MPs kicked out of parliament, forced to get COVID-19 tests