Chapter 17 - Witnesses

Statutory office-holders as witnesses

On several occasions the Senate has, by resolution, asserted the principle that, while statutory authorities may not be subject to direction or control by the executive government in their day-to-day operations, they are accountable to the Senate for their expenditure of public funds and have no discretion to withhold from the Senate information concerning their activities (9/12/1971, J.846; 23/10/1974, J.283, 18/9/1980, J.1563; 4/6/1984, J.902; 19/11/1986, J.1424; see also report of the Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations on ABC Employment Contracts and their Confidentiality, 3 December 1986, PP 432/1986, and the government’s response to the committee’s report, SD, 17/11/1987, pp 1840-4; Privileges Committee, 64th report, PP 40/1997, and 29/5/1997, J.2042).

Officers of statutory authorities, therefore, so far as the Senate is concerned, are in the same position as other witnesses, and have no particular immunity in respect of giving evidence before the Senate and its committees. (See Supplement)

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