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Tuesday, 12 June 1984
Page: 2833

The exposure draft proposes:

That Parliament enact a witnesses protection Act, which would make it a statutory offence to threaten, punish or injure, or attempt to do so, a person on account of evidence given or to be given before a parliamentary committee. Witnesses would also be given a right to initiate civil proceedings for damages.

That a detailed series of guidelines for the conduct of ordinary committee, that is, non-privilege, inquiries be adopted. These contain detailed proposals for the rights of witnesses, which, as senators will realise when they study them, are not very dissimilar to the practices already followed by the Senate.

Mr President, there are other recommendations, however it is not appropriate to go into any further detail in this statement. I am sure you will agree, however, that there can be few subjects of greater importance to the Parliament generally and to individual senators and members.

I conclude by again mentioning that in presenting this exposure draft, the Committee hopes that senators and members will find time to examine it and give the Committee the benefit of their views so that they can be taken into consideration in the preparation of a final report.