Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

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

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Parliamentary privilege and the Senate

The law of parliamentary privilege is particularly important so far as the Senate is concerned, because it is the foundation of the Senate's ability to perform its legislative functions with the appropriate degree of independence of the House of Representatives and of the executive government which usually controls that House.

Parliamentary privilege exists for the purpose of enabling the Senate effectively to carry out its functions. The primary functions of the Senate are to inquire, to debate and to legislate, and any analysis of parliamentary privilege must be related to the way in which it assists and protects those functions. Although the relevant law is the same for both Houses, and is analysed accordingly in this chapter, its particular significance for the Senate must constantly be borne in mind.