125th Report

Parliamentary privilege: Precedents, procedure and practice in the Australian Senate 1966—2005

19 December 2005

© Commonwealth of Australia 2005
ISSN 1038-9857
ISBN 0 642 71601 3

View the report as a single document - (PDF 985KB)

View the report as separate downloadable parts:

Membership of the committee
(PDF 127KB)
(PDF 88KB)
Chapter 1 – Privilege 1901-1987
(PDF 199KB)
Meaning of privilege
Scope of the report
Privilege 1901-1965
House of Representatives Committee of Privileges
The establishment of the Senate Committee of Privileges
Reports 1971-1987
Unauthorised disclosure of committee report
Claims of executive privilege
Security measures at Parliament House
Unparliamentary language used in debate
Detention and harassment of senators
Improper disclosure of in camera evidence and of proposed amendment to bill
Chapter 2 – Parliamentary Privileges Act 1987 and the Senate privilege resolutions
(PDF 188KB)
Passage of Parliamentary Privileges Act and Senate Privilege Resolutions
Summary and discussion of privilege resolutions
Raising matters of privilege
Criteria for determining contempt
Committee of Privileges proceedings
Matters constituting contempts
Findings of and punishments for contempt
Right of reply
Other resolutions
Chapter 3 – Privilege 1988-2005 – Right-of-reply matters
(PDF 165KB)
Method of operation
Reports 1988-2005
Types of responses
Chapter 4 – Privilege 1988-2005 – Analysis of contempt matters
(PDF 296KB)
Scope of privilege – advisory reports
Circulation of petitions
Claims of executive privilege
Reports on questions raised by other committees
Reports consequential on Committee of Privileges inquiries
Possible improper obstruction of senators or committees
Possible false or misleading evidence before committees
Matters raised by senators or committees
Matters raised by other persons
Misreporting and misrepresentation of committee proceedings
Unauthorised disclosure of proceedings or documents of committees
Discovery of sources of unauthorised disclosure
Undiscovered sources of unauthorised disclosure
Possible improper interference with persons providing information to the Senate and committees
Possible contempts involving private citizens
Possible contempts involving public officials
Possible failure to comply with the resolutions relating to the registration of interests
Chapter 5 – Privilege 1988-2005 – Committee’s methods of operation
(PDF 230KB)
Conduct of committee inquiries
Legal representation
For persons affected by matters referred to the committee
For Committee of Privileges
Public hearings
Notification of committee’s findings
Senate proceedings
Reimbursement of legal costs
Committee’s sources of advice
Advice from counsel
Clerk’s advice
Advice from other sources
Committee of Privilege’s advice to others
Other matters
Participation of members of the committee in certain inquiries
Standard of proof
Relationship between public officials and the Parliament
Guidelines relating to unauthorised disclosure of committee proceedings
References to other committees
Relationship with the courts
Execution of search warrants in senators’ offices
Chapter 6 – Conclusion
(PDF 144KB)
Appendix A - Parliamentary Privileges Act 1987
(PDF 190KB)
Explanatory Memorandum
Appendix B - Senate privilege resolutions
(PDF 211KB)
Explanatory notes
Notes on amendments moved by Senator Durack
Responses to questions raised in debate on 25 February 1988
Appendix C - Membership of Committee of Privileges 1967-2005
(Available in PDF format only)
(PDF 28KB)
Appendix D - Chairs and Deputy Chairs of Committee of Privileges 1971-2005
(PDF 116KB)
Appendix E - Work of Committee of Privileges: Some Facts and Figures
(PDF 183KB)
Appendix F - Procedures for Committee of Privileges hearings
(PDF 139KB)
Appendix G - Resume of reports of Committee of Privileges
(PDF 379KB)
Appendix H - Advices from the Clerk of the Senate
(PDF 181KB)
Appendix I - Index to persons, organisations and subjects mentioned in reports of Committee of Privileges
(Available in PDF format only)
(PDF 140KB)