Brad Hazzard told off for not socially distancing in NSW parliament

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard was told off by the speaker of the lower house for not socially distancing during a rowdy question time session on Tuesday.

A Labor member approached Legislate Assembly speaker Jonathan O’Dea to say social distancing wasn’t properly followed in the chamber.

“I just wanted to bring to your attention that there isn’t social distancing in the house at the moment, and I think it’s really important that we do,” MP Yasmin Catley told the speaker.

“Thank you, I’ll uphold that point of order,” Mr O’Dea said, scanning across the room.

“To your right,” Ms Catley could be heard saying, pointing towards the government benches on the other side of the chamber.

Mr Hazzard could be seen leaning across the back rest of the bench in front of him, chatting with Treasurer Dominic Perrottet.

“Guys, can we just make sure we’re socially distancing. Just don’t lean quite so forward please, Minister for Health,” Mr O’Dea said.

As the state’s Health Minister, Mr Hazzard has been a big proponent of social distancing and mask-wearing.

As recently as last week, he reminded residents in a statement: “It is vital people continue to maintain their social distance, come forward for testing, don’t go to work if they’re unwell and wear a mask where they cannot guarantee social distancing.”

The NSW parliament instituted social distancing rules as the coronavirus pandemic reached Australia last year, reducing the number of members present in the two chambers so each person was at least 1.5 metres apart.

Some members have been placed in the galleries usually reserved for the public to allow for social distancing in the 164-year-old chamber.

The Health Minister’s office has been contacted for comment.

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