Dr Monique Ryan berates coalition MPs for not wearing masks in public – NBCNEWS

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Monique Ryan, a pediatric neurologist turned 'blue-green' independent MP, pointed to the opposition benches and shouted 'put your masks on!'  when she was heckled

A doctor who kicked Josh Frydenberg out of politics has berated the vast majority of opposition MPs for not carrying requests in parliament.

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Monique Ryan defeated the former treasurer in the seat of Kooyong, in south-east Melbourne, in the May 21 election as one of seven ‘blue-green’ independents.

As a former pediatric neurologist, she asked Health Minister Mark Butler in Question Time what the government was going to do about the long-term Covid in Australia.

But Ms Ryan’s warning of an ‘incoming national significant burden of disability and chronic illness’ from long Covid drew derision from coalition MPs.

Monique Ryan, a pediatric neurologist turned ‘blue-green’ independent MP, pointed to the opposition benches and shouted ‘put your masks on!’ when she was heckled

As the bickering grew louder, Mrs. Ryan stopped to point to the opposition benches and yelled ‘put your masks on!’

This only led to more booing from the opposition, only seven of whom wore masks while all of Labour wore them.

Ms. Ryan gave the hackers a deadly look and finished her question with a short pause.

“Covid-19 infections in this country are at an all-time high and increasing, could the minister please explain how he proposes to manage the coming national significant burden of disability and chronic illness from repeated infection,” she said.

The large rift between the Coalition and Labor – and most of the crossbench – over mask-wearing was a frequent distraction in Parliament’s first few days.

All 77 Labor MPs and 26 Senators have worn masks indoors since their first cabinet and caucus meetings a week ago, and in every session of Parliament.

Health Minister Mark Butler (center) was asked in question time what the government was going to do about long Covid in Australia

Health Minister Mark Butler (center) was asked in question time what the government was going to do about long Covid in Australia

Prime Minister Anthony Albanian and opposition leader Petter Dutton shake hands at St Andrews Presbyterian Church during the traditional service for the opening of parliament on Tuesday.  Mr Albanese wore a mask but Mr Dutton did not

Prime Minister Anthony Albanian and opposition leader Petter Dutton shake hands at St Andrews Presbyterian Church during the traditional service for the opening of parliament on Tuesday. Mr Albanese wore a mask but Mr Dutton did not

Mr. Albanian often takes off his mask while sitting in his seat at the middle table, as he has social distancing from the rest of the House of Representatives.

By contrast, only a few masks are worn by coalition members, although that number has increased slightly over the past week

Michael McCormack, Karen Andrews, Angie Bell, Andrew Gee, Andrew Wallace, Mark Coluton, Rowan Ramsey and Darren Chester wore them during Monday’s Question Time.

The Prime Minister has strongly backed health officials’ recommendations that Australians should wear masks indoors in winter.

Covid cases rose to one of the highest levels of the pandemic in recent weeks, with 45,242 reported Friday, with an estimated 369,850 active infections.

The gap was even wider, as while every Labor MP wore a mask in the House of Representatives last Tuesday, just five coalition members followed suit.

The gap was even wider, as while every Labor MP wore a mask in the House of Representatives last Tuesday, just five coalition members followed suit.

Notably, Mr Albanian and his cabinet also wore masks at a meeting last Monday, and again at a meeting of the entire Labor caucus later that day

Notably, Mr Albanian and his cabinet also wore masks at a meeting last Monday, and again at a meeting of the entire Labor caucus later that day

Mr Dutton has not made a similarly strong call for masks to be worn indoors, except to vehemently oppose the return of mandates – which the Prime Minister does not want either.

Instead, he said Australians should decide for themselves what Covid precautions to take.

The only time he wore a mask since parliament began on Tuesday was at a Cancer Council morning tea on Wednesday.

Mr Butler said in his reply to Ms Ryan that every week 300,000 Australians got Covid, and half the country has probably got it so far this year.

‘Our focus is on getting through this wave. We’ve expanded support to the state hospital,” he said.

“We have expanded access to fourth-dose vaccines and antiviral treatments.

“We are once again encouraging Australians to be Covid safe. Especially since the member pointed out to wear masks when their doors are incapable of being socially distant.

Dutton (left) donned a mask as he mingled with the guests, along with former Nationals leader Michael McCormack (right), who wore a mask in Parliament on Wednesday

Dutton (left) donned a mask as he mingled with the guests, along with former Nationals leader Michael McCormack (right), who wore a mask in Parliament on Wednesday

‘We also have to deal with long-term Covid.’

Mr Butler said Covid has long been difficult to diagnose and some of the more than 200 symptoms included fatigue, shortness of breath and brain fog.

“More and more Australians are suffering long-term multi-system disorders that are difficult to diagnose and treat,” he said.

‘The truth is we don’t know any scale of the challenge.

“A general estimate that about four percent of Covid patients experience long-term symptoms already runs to hundreds and hundreds of thousands of Australians.”

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