Western Australia’s snap lockdown decision is reverberating across the country, with dozens of federal politicians and staff flying into Canberra from Perth told forced to isolate until Friday and stay away from Parliament House.
The federal Parliament is due to sit on Tuesday for the first time in 2021, with many politicians arriving in the nation’s capital on Sunday afternoon. However, the announcement of a concerning COVID case leaking out of WA’s hotel quarantine – and the state’s subsequent five-day lockdown – sent authorities scrambling in the Australian Capital Territory.
The ACT government has now ordered all people who have been in Perth since January 25 to get tested, and isolate until 9pm Friday, regardless of result.
One plane from Perth landed at 6.45pm Canberra time, just hours after Premier Mark McGowan had asked other leaders to close their borders to his state. A number of politicians and political staffers from WA were on that plane, learning about the case and the Perth lockdown while they were in transit. They were met at the gate by ACT officials and given advice.
Onboard the plane were several politicians including defence minister Linda Reynolds, defence industry minister Melissa Price, and Labor politicians Patrick Dodson, Anne Aly and Josh Wilson. Attorney-general Christian Porter, the Leader of the House of Representatives, was also reportedly on that plane.
The New Daily understands affected MPs have been told to stay away from Parliament House until further notice.
WA has 28 MPs and senators.
Defence Minister @lindareynoldswa and @Melissa4Durack arriving in Canberra from Perth. Both have to self isolate until further notice. They say they “support the health advice” #7NEWS #auspol @7NewsPerth pic.twitter.com/KLe8k0g3xO
— Jennifer Bechwati (@jenbechwati) January 31, 2021
The ACT Health department ordered all incoming WA arrivals to go directly to their accommodation, minimise interactions with the public, and wear a mask.
“In line with the WA Government’s own lockdown we are saying that anyone who has been to one of these regions since 25 January should quarantine until 9pm on Friday 5 February, even after they have received their test results,” said the ACT’s deputy Chief Health Officer, Dr Vanessa Johnston, in a statement.
“We are monitoring the situation closely in Western Australia and will be making further decisions tomorrow as additional information is received from WA authorities.”
Further information for people who have recently been in Western Australia pic.twitter.com/TFnbJ86Lp9
— Andrew Barr MLA (@ABarrMLA) January 31, 2021
It is unclear if or how the isolation measures may affect the resumption of Parliament on Tuesday. The New Daily has contacted the office of Tony Smith, Speaker of the House of Representatives, for comment.
More to come.