ANTHONY ALBANESE, TONY BURKE & KATY GALLAGHER – MEDIA RELEASE – VICTORIAN MPS MUST BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN PARLIAMENT – THURSDAY, 6 AUGUST 2020
ANTHONY ALBANESE MP
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY
MEMBER FOR GRAYNDLER
TONY BURKE MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
MANAGER OF OPPOSITION BUSINESS
MEMBER FOR WATSON
SENATOR KATY GALLAGHER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FINANCE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE PUBLIC SERVICE
CHAIR OF THE SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON COVID-19
SENATOR FOR THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
VICTORIAN MPS MUST BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN PARLIAMENT
Labor is calling on the Morrison Government to ensure MPs who cannot attend Federal Parliament because of COVID-19 can still contribute to debate via videolink.
The Chief Medical Officer has provided advice that Victorian MPs who want to attend Parliament will need to isolate at home or in the ACT for 14 days before sittings begin.
Labor does not dispute the medical advice but it clearly means many Victorian MPs, particularly those with caring or family responsibilities, will not be able to attend.
The Government must therefore ensure those MPs can still participate – and represent their constituents – by giving speeches, and asking and answering questions.
It has never been more important for Victorians to have their say in our Parliament. Given the medical advice, allowing Victorian MPs to contribute to debate via videolink will ensure the Victorian people can continue to have their voices heard.
For weeks Labor has been calling on the Government to put in place the arrangements that would allow Parliament to resume on August 24.
That’s why we called for a bipartisan working group with House of Representatives Speaker Tony Smith and Senate President Scott Ryan to ensure sittings could proceed.
It is disappointing Mr Morrison sought his own advice from the CMO before the working group had an opportunity to determine whether other protocols may have been possible. The working group was productive and cooperative.
Proper parliamentary scrutiny of the Morrison Government should not be a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic – particularly as it engages in the biggest spending program in Australian history.
The cancellation of Parliament should always be a last resort.
While Australians are adjusting the way they do their work or run their business to be COVID safe, it is fair that they expect their Parliament to keep working in their interests during this crisis.
THURSDAY, 6 AUGUST 2020