Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 12 June 1984
Page: 2833

That the penal jurisdiction be retained in parliament. Senators will realise that there have been a number of suggestions that the capacity to deal with breaches of privilege and contempts should be transferred to the courts or some other tribunal. However after careful consideration the Committee believes that the arguments in favour of retaining the exercise of the penal jurisdiction within parliament outweigh the considerations for transfer.

That the penal jurisdiction should be exercised as sparingly as possible and only when necessary to prevent substantial interference with the work of the Parliament, that is, it should never be exercised in connection with complaints of a trivial character.

That the Houses adopt a set of guidelines which will indicate those matters which may be regarded as contempts. This action would serve to advise the community of Parliament's thinking but would not result in Parliament losing its capacity to take action against matters which may not fall under any particular heading.

That the capacity for Parliament to take action against a person for what is known as a defamatory contempt should be abolished, or failing that defences, including that of truth, or an honest or reasonable belief in the truth of the statement, should be available.