The Centre for Public Integrity today launched new research showing that Australia is the only democracy facing coronavirus that has suspended Parliament. The research shows:

  • Australian Parliament suspended for 5 months until 11 August.
  • Number of sitting days for 2020 cut by 21, which is almost a 30% reduction in the 72 scheduled sitting days for the House of Representatives originally planned for the year.
  • Other democracies facing coronavirus have limited the impact on parliamentary sitting, losing 0-9 sitting days, and have put in place other accountability measures including NZ’s Epidemic Response Committee. 

“Australians everywhere are expected to work from home and continuing meeting via online technologies. Why should our MPs be any different?” Chair of the Centre for Public Integrity Anthony Whealy QC said today.

“The response to the coronavirus has seen billion dollars of public money spent. The vast amount of public money involved means accountability and parliamentary scrutiny is needed more than ever.”

“Other parliamentary democracies dealing with outbreaks of coronavirus. including France, Spain, UK and US have all continued to sit and scrutinise government legislation,. Our MPs must continue to represent the Australian people in Parliament” Mr Whealy said.