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Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Page: 249

Senator WONG (South AustraliaLeader of the Opposition in the Senate) (15:45): I move:

That the following matter be referred to the Standing Committee of Privileges for inquiry and report:

(1) The disposition of the material over which a claim of privilege has been made by Senator the Honourable Stephen Conroy, namely:

(a) the material delivered to the Clerk of the Senate on 20 May 2016 by Australian Federal Police (AFP) following the execution of search warrants on 19-20 May 2016 at the office of Senator Conroy at Treasury Place, Melbourne, and at the Brunswick home of an Opposition staff member;

(b) the material delivered to the Clerk of the Senate on 24 August 2016 by the AFP following the execution of search warrants on that day at the premises of the Department of Parliamentary Services, Parliament House, Canberra; and

(c) the material referred to in a letter from Senator Conroy to the Clerk of the Senate, dated 12 August 2016, being copies of material seized from his office and the home of a staff member on 19-20 May 2016 that had been acquired by the AFP in searching any other premises.

(2) In carrying out its inquiry, the committee shall have regard to the law of parliamentary privilege with reference to the Parliamentary Privileges Act 1987 and relevant court judgments relating to the interpretation and application of the Act.

(3) The committee shall be provided by the AFP with a list and a description of the seized material but the list and description to be provided by the AFP must not contain any information that could identify any person subject to investigation by the AFP in connection with the execution of the search warrants referred to in paragraph (1).

(4) The committee shall provide to affected parties the opportunity to make submissions on the claim of parliamentary privilege and may seek submissions on the application of the law of parliamentary privilege.

(5) If the committee is able to determine the matter without examining the material, it shall report accordingly to the Senate, making recommendations for the disposition of the material.

(6) If the committee is unable to determine the matter without an examination of the material, it may, with the further approval of the Senate, appoint an appropriate person to examine the material and report to it on the claim of parliamentary privilege. The committee shall then report to the Senate.

(7) Unless the Senate approves the appointment of a person to examine the material, it shall remain in the custody of the Clerk of the Senate at all times until its disposition is determined by the Senate, and shall not be examined by the committee.