The number of federal MPs required in Parliament next week to pass emergency legislation will be cut by more than 40 per cent as access to the building is restricted amid the coronavirus outbreak.
NSW Liberal senator Andrew Bragg became the third Australian MP to be infected with COVID-19 on Tuesday, following Queensland senator Susan McDonald and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.
The measures, agreed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese on Tuesday, will see up to 30 pairs granted for MPs in the House of Representatives, meaning up to 60 out of 151 MPs and their staff will not need to be physically present. Pairing arrangements allow MPs from both major parties to miss votes without affecting the outcome.
Parliament must sit next week to pass the government’s $17.6 billion stimulus package. Up to $11 billion is set to be pumped out in less than three months, including cash payments worth $750 for more than 6.5 million students, pensioners and the unemployed.