18 March 2020
In response to multiple requests to provide an update on my health status following my contact with Senator Bragg I make the following statement:
I attended a Senate Committee hearing on the 9th of March and had close contact with Senator Bragg. My current temperate is 36.6C (i.e. normal), I still have no symptoms and I’m feeling 100 per cent. I have contacted the two other Senators who attended the hearing with me, Senator McAllister and Senator Sheldon, as well as the Committee Secretary, all of whom have not experienced any symptoms of COVID-19.
I became aware of Senator Bragg’s positive COVID-19 status yesterday afternoon and commenced self-isolation immediately, as is required by the Australian Government - although this requirement is not clear on the healthdirect.gov.au website and I have informed Government of this and it is my understanding they are remedying this.
I indicated publically that I would get tested for COVID-19 and advise of the results. However, I have subsequently established I do not meet the Australian Government’s criteria to have a test because, whilst I have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days, I do not have a respiratory illness.
Nonetheless, on account of the strong public inquiry over my case, a doctor did agree to to issue me with a test referral, which overrides the Government’s general criteria. Unfortunately the earliest I can get a ‘drive through’ test is on this coming Sunday morning, the day my self-isolation will end, with results not likely until Tuesday or Wednesday, two days after my self-isolation time has passed.
That will leave me in the position of having passed the incubation time frame and, indeed, potentially wasting public resources if I proceed. I will retain my appointment for the moment, but if symptoms do not appear over the next couple of days, I will cancel the test.
As my self-isolation ends on Sunday, assuming I don’t develop symptoms, I will be in a position to attend Parliament. However, noting the desire to minimise the number of MPs travelling to Canberra, whether I travel to Canberra will be a matter for me, my colleague Senator Griff and the Whips closer to the date.
For those that have had contact with me over the past 10 days, I draw their attention to Government advice on whether they should self-isolate:
“All people who arrive in Australia from midnight 15 March 2020, or think they may have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus, are required to self-isolate for 14 days”.
I am NOT a confirmed case of coronavirus, and I have not and am not exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. If there is doubt over whether you should self-isolate, you should seek advice from a doctor.