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Wednesday, 12 September 1973
Page: 841

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Warringah yesterday rose on what he termed was a question of privilege and asserted that if, as the Prime Minister had earlier indicated in an answer to a question, honourable members will not be allowed to travel to Taiwan on their official passports, he would ask that the matter be referred to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Privileges. I stated that it might be advisable for the Prime Minister to read in Hansard the matter of privilege raised by the honourable member for Warringah and, if the honourable member did not get a satisfactory answer the matter could be looked at again.

It is difficult to see any connection between the matter raised and parliamentary privilege. In general terms the privilege of Parliament relates to any act or omission which obstructs or impedes either House of Parliament in the performance of its functions or which obstructs or impedes any member or officer of such House in the discharge of his duty. In relation to parliamentary privilege, the relationship of the act in question with the work of the House itself is fundamental. On page 66 of May's 'Parliamentary Practice' it states: . . fundamentally it is only as a means to the effective discharge of the functions of the House that individual privileges ore enjoyed by its Members. The Commons, in their reasons offered at a conference with the Lords in a controversy arising from the case of Shirley v. Fagg, in asserting that privilege of Parliament belongs to every Member of the House of Common1!, declared, 'that the reason of that Privilege is, th:it the Members of the House of Commons may freely attend the public affairs of that Mouse, without disturbance or interruption.'

No cases similar to that raised by the honourable member for Warringah have been uncovered in May's 'Parliamentary Practice' or the records of the House.

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