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Tuesday, 17 March 1987
Page: 791

Debate resumed from 7 October 1986, on motion by The President:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The PRESIDENT —For the information of honourable senators I present the reasons for judgment of Mr Justice Carruthers of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in the matter of parliamentary privilege in Regina v. Jackson. The judgment on this matter was given last year but the reasons have just been published. The reasons are relevant to a consideration of the Parliamentary Privileges Bill 1986, introduced by my predecessor.

Mr Justice Carruthers, in dealing with the question of whether a member's parliamentary statements may be used as evidence in relation to an alleged offence by the member, has adhered to the traditional interpretation of freedom of speech in Parliament and has rejected the reasoning of Mr Justice Hunt in Regina v. Murphy. There are now, therefore, contradictory judgments by the same court in relation to freedom of speech in Parliament. I urge senators to read the reasons in connection with their consideration of the Bill. Copies are available from the Records Office.