Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 13 October 2022) . . Page.. 3014 ..
Leader of the Opposition. Also, I would like to personally thank the speaker and note the consultative way she has approached the design of this bill. I applaud the efforts. Thank you.
MS BURCH (Brindabella) (10.10), in reply: The objective of this bill is to prescribe additional arrangements in the Integrity Commission Act 2018 for the treatment and handling by witnesses, public servants, commission and others, of information that is potentially protected by parliamentary privilege, including information that the unauthorised release of may count as contempt of the Assembly.
Parliamentary privilege refers to unique powers and immunities enjoyed by the Assembly, its committees and its members in order to effectively perform their parliamentary functions. As has been mentioned, neither the Assembly’s contempt powers nor the freedom of speech immunities are abrogated by the Integrity Commission Act. However, there are certain features in the act relating to provision of information that need some resolution. A statutory remedy is required to resolve the tension in the original bill so that it is clear how certain materials must be handled in the course of the exercise of the commission’s powers and functions.
For those with an interest in this bill, I refer them to the Hansard of 9 June, when I tabled this bill for a more detailed explanation of the changes. This bill follows consultation with the Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure, the committee of JACS, Chief Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Leader of the Greens, the Integrity Commissioner and the Inspector of the Integrity Commission, as has been mentioned. It provides additional arrangements to prevent any inadvertent breaches of parliamentary privilege and to provide clarity for persons including the ACT public servants of whom request, preliminary inquiry notices and examination summons may be directed. I thank members for their support. I will be moving amendments to the amendment bill shortly. I thank members in this place for their support.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill agreed to in principle.
Bill, by leave, taken as a whole.
MS BURCH (Brindabella) (10.12), by leave: I move amendments Nos 1 and 2 circulated in my name together [see schedule 1 at page 3128].
These amendments are a response to the scrutiny report. They are very minor but they provide again that clarity about information that is provided through the bill. I commend the amendments and the bill to the Assembly.
Amendments agreed to.
Bill, as a whole, as amended, agreed to.
Bill, as amended, agreed to.