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Remote contributions approved for next parliamentary fortnight

Media Release

New rules have been agreed that will for the first time enable Federal Members of Parliament to contribute remotely to proceedings via video during the next sitting fortnight.

The video option will be available to MP's who can satisfy the Speaker that they were unable to attend in person because the pandemic had made it "essentially impossible, unreasonably impracticable, or would give rise to an unreasonable risk for the Member to physically attend."

Members appearing remotely will have to use an official parliamentary video facility located in a parliamentary or an electorate office.

They will be able to contribute to debates and ask questions during Question Time. Their contributions will also be recorded in Hansard. They will not be able to vote during divisions or be counted for quorums. Nor will they be able to second motions or move amendments to a Motion or Bill.

Attorney-General and Leader of the House, Christian Porter, thanked the Speaker and his office for their hard work behind the scenes to prepare the technology that will make these new measures possible. He also thanked the Manager of Opposition Business, Tony Burke, for his assistance with the new arrangements.

The Government welcomes the trial of this innovative technology to allow Members who can't be physically present in the Parliament to contribute to debate. The gradual introduction of this technology will occur over the next fortnight to ensure a staged and tested implementation.

See the Agreement for Remote Parliament here.