Chapter 2 - Parliamentary Privilege: immunities and powers of the Senate

Privileges: immunities

The term “privilege”, in relation to parliamentary privilege, refers to an immunity from the ordinary law which is recognised by the law as a right of the Houses and their members. Privilege in this restricted and special sense is often confused with privilege in the colloquial sense of a special benefit or special arrangement which gives some advantage to either House or its members. Privileges in the colloquial sense, however useful or well-established they might be, have nothing to do with immunities under the law. The word “immunity” is best used in relation to privilege in the sense of immunity under the law, and is used here.

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