Prime Minister Scott Morrison has returned to Canberra from a brief visit to his family in Sydney after gaining an exemption from health authorities to cross the border with NSW.
With state borders closed across the country, Mr Morrison needed approval from the Australian Capital Territory’s Chief Health Officer to make the visit after being in Sydney for Father’s Day on Sunday.
The arrangement allowed him to return to Parliament House on Monday morning to join Social Services Minister Anne Ruston at a summit on women’s safety and to speak with national security officials face-to-face for a cabinet committee meeting.
Flight radar websites showed that one of the Royal Australian Air Force’s business jets, a Dassault Falcon 7X, flew from Canberra to Sydney on Friday in a 25-minute flight and returned to Canberra early on Monday morning.
Mr Morrison’s office confirmed the flight and said the Prime Minister had gained approval from the office of the territory’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerryn Coleman, to enter the ACT.
A key reason was a meeting of the national security committee of federal cabinet on Monday, requiring the Prime Minister to talk with officials and cabinet colleagues in a secure briefing room.
The exemption follows similar approvals for other cabinet ministers during lockdowns this year, such as enabling Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to fly from Victoria to Canberra to deliver the federal budget.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce also gained an exemption last month so he could enter the ACT to attend Parliament after driving from his home in the regional NSW town of Armidale, which was subject to lockdowns.
Mr Morrison has been unable to move around the country for long periods in recent months, leading him to tell Coalition MPs on August 3 that he had spent 46 days in lockdown or quarantine after returning to Australia from the G7 summit in the United Kingdom in June.