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Tuesday, 12 June 1984
Page: 2833

The exposure draft proposes:

An expanded definition of proceedings in Parliament, which would, inter alia, provide that letters from members to Ministers would enjoy absolute privilege.

That there be a limited right of reply to non-members who believe that they have been subjected to unfair or groundless attack in Parliament. The proposal is that such persons could refer complaints to the privileges committee of the relevant House. There would be certain ground rules, for example, that the complaints should be confined to factual answer and not contain an attack on the member involved. The committees would be able to recommend that the rebuttal be incorporated in some form in the parliamentary record.

That the laws of qualified privilege as they apply to reports of proceedings of the Parliament be modified to produce uniformity throughout Australia in the publication of fair and accurate reports of proceedings.

That the practice of requiring leave to be granted for reference to be made to parliamentary records-usually Hansard-in court proceedings be abandoned and that , for the limited purpose only of enabling it to be proved as a fact that certain statements had been made, permission be given for reference to be made without leave, without in any way permitting Article 9 of the Bill of Rights to be infringed.