PM to change Parliament, Hanson wants it shut down
Australia's parliament will be scaled down when MPs and senators descend on Canberra to pass laws relating to coronavirus.
School visits have been cancelled and less staff will accompany politicians next week, with the government looking at a range of ways to stop the disease spreading.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said parliament faced challenges which could be overcome with practical solutions.
"We'll be proposing a set of scaled back arrangements which will enable the parliament to meet, to do its business, to pass these laws and for us to get on with the job," he told Sydney radio 2GB on Monday.
"The focus will be on passing the important legislation that relates to the stimulus package and the health funding." Labor will back legislation relating to the government's $17.6 billion package designed to boost the economy.
The government will also look to pass $2.4 billion in health measures aimed at ensuring coronavirus can be managed.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson said she would support cancelling next week's scheduled sitting of parliament.
"If Morrison is really concerned about this, and it is a huge gathering of people, I'd say close parliament down next week and just do the budget in May," Senator Hanson told the Nine Network on Monday.
"I'd agree to that by all means." Public gatherings of more than 500 people are banned from Monday as governments ramp up efforts to stop coronavirus transmission.
Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce raised concerns politicians could spread the virus when they meet in Canberra.
"Not only should we not do it, we should be an example of not doing it," he told the Seven Network.
PM GETS VIRUS NEWSPOLL BOOST
Morrison has taken back the mantle of preferred prime minister in the latest Newspoll, with his handling of the coronavirus repairing some of the damage caused by the bushfire fiasco.
As reported in The Australian, the Newspoll shows 42 per cent of voters regard Mr Morrison as the better choice for PM compared to 38 for Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese.
Mr Albanese took the lead in recent months following public perceptions that Mr Morrison had not done a great job of handling the nation's bushfire crisis.
But the ALP still has its nose in front in terms of the two-party preferred vote, 51-49.
The Newspoll also sought judgment on how governments are handling the coronavirus, with 75 per cent of voters in favour of the government's move to sacrifice a budget surplus to free up cash for economic stimulus.
A solid 65 per cent of voters believe Australian federal and state governments have done a good job in keeping people informed of how to protect themselves from the virus.
But almost half - 47 per cent - have given the thumbs down to how governments are managing the economy against the impacts of COVID-19.
Voters feel the government has done a good job in preparing the public health system to cope with the growing number of virus cases, but there was less faith in the system itself to deal with the crisis.
The first poll to be conducted during the COVID-19 crisis shows a typical bounceback to the incumbent government and the major parties in times of crisis.
The Coalition's primary support rose two points to 40 per cent, while Labor also went north to 36 per cent. The Greens and other minor parties lost support.
Support for a stimulus package to combat the impact of COVID-19 was high - 80 per cent of Coalition voters, 77 per cent of Labor voters and 66 per cent of Greens voters said it was more important than a balanced budget.