The dress code for the House of Representatives, set in 1999 by then-speaker Neil Andrew and reinforced in 2005, requires men in the chamber to wear good trousers, a jacket, a collar, and a tie — a safari suit is also included as an option. Women are also expected to have a similar level of formality in their clothing choices.

There are exceptions, such as if the air-conditioning is broken or a member is rushing to a division and forgot their jacket, but otherwise it is jackets on.

The rules apply to the press gallery, too, and recently ABC journalist Patricia Karvelas was asked to leave the gallery in the House of Representatives because she was wearing a sleeveless top.

In the Senate, the rules were relaxed after a formal request from then-Greens senator Bob Brown. And Greens MP Adam Bandt recently wrote to speaker Tony Smith asking to relax the rules for journalists to be able to work through the hot summer sans jackets after a request from a photographer.

“As temperatures continue to rise, so too will the body temperature of journalists — who are regularly required to be physically active and who are required to work inside and outside the building,” Bandt said in a statement to Crikey. “Journalists and especially photographers should have a right to bare arms.”

Peter Fray

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