Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Response to Question from Manager of Opposition Business - 9 May 2017

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At the end of the autumn sittings, on 29 March, the Manager of Opposition Business asked me a question in relation to a Senate Committee of Privileges report on ‘Search warrants and the Senate’. I undertook to report back to the House in response after I had time to consider the Senate report and any aspects of relevance for this House.

As the Member referred, the Senate committee considered that the execution of certain warrants may have had the effect of interfering with the duties of a senator, and with the functions of the parliament more broadly. To address this, the committee concluded that there was a requirement for remedial action in relation to the AFP national guideline for the execution of search warrants where parliamentary privilege may be involved. The committee stated further that it would be addressing this issue in its inquiry into intrusive powers.

As the AFP national guideline was developed jointly by the House and Senate committees of privileges, some years ago, I would consider that the House Committee of Privileges and Members’ Interests should also involve itself in any reconsideration of the guideline. I will leave it for the House Committee to determine how best it might involve itself in the matter.

I do not propose to respond further on this matter.

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