Federal MPs from Western Australia, including some of the most senior members of the government, will be allowed to attend Parliament this week after being granted an exemption by ACT Health.
ACT Health and parliamentary officials met on Monday morning to negotiate the terms of the exemptions, which don't include staffers.
MPs from Western Australia must stay in their accommodation outside of attending Parliament, and must not go to any other public places, such as cafes, restaurants or gyms. They must return a negative test for COVID-19 before being able to attend the first sitting day of the year on Tuesday.
Attorney-General Christian Porter was caught up in the rush to obtain exemptions, caused by a positive COVID-19 case in a hotel quarantine security guard in Perth.
Mr Porter, who is also the leader of the House, was on a flight from Perth on Sunday when the lockdown was announced, telling 2GB Radio there was even consideration of turning the plane around.
"The rules are the rules and we'll abide by them," he said.
"But I hope everyone in West Australia gets through it."
Following the interview, where Mr Porter said he was in quarantine, he attended a swearing-in ceremony at the High Court in Canberra.
Asked about pictures of Mr Porter at the ceremony on Monday morning, not wearing a mask or social distancing, ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman wouldn't say what her instructions had been to his office.
"We had conversations with the Attorney-General's office this morning around that and any further questions should go to the Attorney-General's office on that," she said.
"As with all parliamentarians, or anyone seeking advice and exemptions, we have a one to one conversation with them and I'm not going to discuss private conversations here."
Earlier on Monday ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith confirmed federal politicians coming from WA would be assessed for travel exemptions.
It follows Perth and surrounds going into a five-day lockdown after a hotel quarantine worker tested positive for the virus.
People in the ACT who have visited Perth since January 25 are required to quarantine until Friday.
"The politicians themselves sometimes do get exemptions as essential workers," Ms Stephen-Smith said.
"There is some constitutional question about whether ACT Health can legally prevent politicians going to work from Parliament House and doing their jobs."
Staffers for politicians have been told they must stay in their accommodation until February 5, or can choose to fly back to Perth before then.
"ACT Health will today be going through on a case by case basis with the politicians to work out who is able to go to work and in what circumstances," Ms Stephen-Smith said.
- with Julia Kanapathippillai
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