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Tuesday, 23 August 1983
Page: 99

Question No. 182

Mr Jacobi asked the Leader of the House, upon notice, on 19 May 1983:

(1) Does he intend to have brought before the Parliament for consideration a Parliamentary Witnesses Protection Bill as recommended by the House of Representatives Committee of Privileges in its 1980 report relating to the alleged discrimination and intimidation of Mr David E. Berthelsen in his Public Service employment because of evidence given by him to a sub-committee of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence.

(2) If so, will the proposed legislation provide for the prosecution of persons who tamper with, intimidate or discriminate against witnesses who give, or have given evidence before a parliamentary committee of the House and also provide a statutory cause of action in which witnesses, who have suffered intimidation or discrimination, would have the right to sue for damages those responsible for the intimidation or discrimination.

(3) When is it intended that the legislation will be introduced.

Mr Young —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) to (3) The Government intends to await the report of the Joint Select Committee on Parliamentary Privilege, expected in the near future, before reaching its decision on the need for legislation such as a Parliamentary Witnesses Protection Bill.