Parliament House will again be closed to the public to minimise the spread of the coronavirus during next week’s sitting.
Speaker Tony Smith and Senate President Scott Ryan on Monday unveiled the arrangements for the fortnight of sittings starting on August 24, having taken health advice.
There will be no public access and even some passholders, including former MPs, will have access restricted to minimise non-essential visits to the building.
Government departments and agencies will be asked to minimise the use of departmental passes, and public servants are encouraged to avoid non-essential attendance.
All school group bookings will be cancelled or postponed and no events will be held in the function spaces of the building.
Mask-wearing will be encouraged where physical distancing is not possible, and by those at increased risk of COVID-19.
Staff of members and senators are discouraged from travelling to Canberra unless it is considered absolutely essential.
Parliamentarians and staff have been advised to stay in the ACT for the weekend of August 29-30 rather than travel away and return.
The statement from the presiding officers makes no mention of videoconferencing into parliamentary debates, which has been the subject of talks between Labor and the coalition.
Labor sources say officials have been testing a system which would enable members to remotely speak in parliament from their electorate office on a government-provided computer patched into a secure network.
But they would have to dress as if they were in the chamber and must have a plain background to their video call.
A number of Victorian MPs have been self-isolating in Canberra ahead of parliament’s return, having been given exemptions by ACT health authorities.
It is understood Queensland MPs will be able to come to parliament, as they are classified as performing an “essential activity” under that state’s health rules.
But they will have to quarantine at home for a fortnight on their return and must travel by air.
The ACT has no active COVID-19 cases.