Defence Minister Linda Reynolds will not return to Parliament this month on advice from her doctor, meaning she will miss the next two sitting weeks of Parliament.
In a statement released today, Ms Reynolds confirmed that her medical leave has been extended until April 2.
“Senator Reynolds has advised Prime Minister Scott Morrison of her doctor’s assessment and will continue to consult with the Prime Minister as required,” the senator’s statement read.
The under-pressure minister hasn’t appeared in Parliament since February 24, when she was admitted to a Canberra hospital because of a pre-existing heart problem.
She was released two days later and has sinced flown home to Perth.
In the lead up to her hospitalisation, the Senator faced intense scrutiny over her knowledge and actions surrounding the alleged rape of her former staffer Brittany Higgns in Ms Reynold’s office in March 2019.
She became visibly distressed during Question Time as she was quizzed by Labor over her handling of the matter.
Ms Reynolds says the slur was not in relation to Ms Higgins’ rape allegations but to reports in the media that she felt had been misrepresented.
Brittany Higgins’ allegations have since triggered three separate reviews.
According to Senator Reynold’s statement, she was assessed by her cardiologist last Tuesday March 2 and a medical certificate extending her leave was issued the following day – before the media published allegations that she called Ms Higgins a “lying cow”.