13Matter of Privilege—STATEMENT BY SPEAKER
The Speaker made the following statement:
On Tuesday, the Member for Hughes raised, as a matter of privilege, whether the removal by YouTube from its platform, on 7 June, of a video containing a speech made in the House by the member, represents the censoring of parliamentary debate and an improper interference with his duties as a member, such as to amount to a contempt of the House.
The Member for Hughes presented two emails sent to him by YouTube as supporting information.
I have reviewed the matter raised by the member and the supporting information he provided. I accept that the matter has been raised at the earliest opportunity.
While acts which attempt to interfere with the free performance by a member of his or her duties as a member can be regarded as a contempt, such acts must amount to, or be intended or likely to amount to improper interference in the free performance of the member’s duties as a member.
In the emails presented to the House by the member, YouTube has stated that it removed the member’s video because it violated the platform’s medical misinformation policy. No evidence has been provided that indicates the action by YouTube was directed at the member in his capacity as a member.
YouTube is not the official provider of the parliamentary broadcast, the official webcast of proceedings is available on the Parliament’s website. I acknowledge that the Member for Hughes considers that YouTube’s action has impacted his ability to perform aspects of his role. I do not accept the member’s assertion that the removal of his speech from this platform constitutes the censoring of parliamentary proceedings.
The Member for Hughes also refers to a ‘threat’ by YouTube to restrict his channel if any further violations of the medical misinformation policy occur. On the information provided, this appears simply to be a standard warning about complying with the platform’s policies, and again not directed at the member in his capacity as a member.
For these reasons, and given the consistently held view that the House’s privileges and contempt powers should be exercised sparingly, I do not find that a prima facie case has been established such as would cause me to give precedence to a motion to refer the matter to the Committee of Privileges and Members’ Interests.