Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has walked into the House of Representatives in the federal parliament, just moments after he was hit by a COVID scare.
Leader of the House Peter Dutton earlier revealed Joyce was a “possible close contact” of a confirmed case in Question Time on Thursday afternoon.
“I‘m just advised as I came into the chamber that the deputy prime minister is a possible close contact from a function and just getting medical advice as we speak,” he said.
In a bizarre turn of events, Joyce arrived at the parliament chamber not long after Dutton’s announcement.
At first, he did not address the issue when he answered a question from a government member.
Joyce later spoke about what had unfolded, after Speaker Tony Smith invited him to clarify the situation.
“Shortly before Question Time, I was alerted that I may have been in contact with a person who was a close contact with a case,” he said.
“I immediately sought further information and advice from Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Michael Kidd.
“As I am not a close contact, I’m now able to attend the chamber.”
The moment comes just days after Joyce returned as Australia’s second in charge.
Michael McCormack was ousted on Monday and Joyce elected Nationals leader following a party-room ballot in Canberra.
Rumours of a spill swirled over the weekend after unnamed MPs briefed journalists.
“For the sake of good government – and not just good government – for the people of Australia, if you are going to say something, have the guts and gumption to put your name to it,” McCormack told reporters in Canberra.
“Don’t background against your colleagues. It’s not good for the parliament. It’s not good for democracy.”
– with AAP