Victoria’s lower house has been suspended due to the escalating COVID-19 crisis in the state.
Both houses of parliament were due to sit from August 4 to August 6 and then from August 18 to 20 but members of the Legislative Assembly have been told they won’t be back until at least September 1.
“I have today received advice from the chief health officer that leaves me with no doubt that this week’s sitting should be delayed,” Speaker Colin Brooks said in an email to MPs on Monday afternoon.
“This is not a decision that has been taken lightly and I can assure members that the parliamentary departments will continue to work hard to position the house for its return.”
It is unclear if the Legislative Council will sit but crossbencher Fiona Patten has indicated she would like it to.
“No news on whether Legislative Council will sit tomorrow. For the past few months we’ve been voting and deliberating on line successfully as part of our committee inquiry processes. Surely we can make that work for parliament. Plenty of other parliaments have managed,” she tweeted on Monday.
On Sunday, Premier Daniel Andrews declared a state of disaster and imposed a 8pm-5am curfew on residents of metropolitan Melbourne.
Residents will also only be allowed to exercise for an hour a day and can’t travel more than 5km from home for shopping or exercise.