Page 4767 - Week 15 - Thursday, 8 December 1994
Thursday, 8 December 1994
MADAM SPEAKER (Ms McRae) took the chair at 10.30 am and read the prayer.
INQUIRIES (AMENDMENT) BILL 1994
MS FOLLETT (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (10.31): I present the Inquiries (Amendment) Bill 1994.
Title read by Clerk.
MS FOLLETT: I move:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
Madam Speaker, on 15 June 1994, in the context of presenting the Government's response to the report into the contact between ACTTAB and VITAB, I advised the Assembly that the Government would be moving to amend the Inquiries Act 1991 to put beyond doubt the privileged status of reports under the Act. This action was considered prudent in the light of some uncertainties that had arisen about the privileges and immunities that would attach to Professor Pearce's report.
Section 14 of the Inquiries Act provides for a result of a board set up under the Act to be submitted to the Chief Minister. The Act, however, indicates no further action. A Chief Minister would, of course, have the option of tabling the report and, once tabled, the report would attract the usual privileges and immunities. The Act, however, is silent on the privileges and immunities that would attach to the report should the Chief Minister make the report public without tabling it.
Madam Speaker, the Inquiries (Amendment) Bill 1994 puts the matter beyond doubt. The Bill provides that where the Chief Minister makes public a report of an inquiry submitted to him or her, or makes public part of such a report, the documents will, in both cases, attract the same privileges and immunities as if they had been laid before the Legislative Assembly. The approach set out in this Bill brings the Inquiries Act into line with the immunities and privileges regime set out in the Royal Commissions Act 1991. I commend the Bill to the Assembly, and I present the explanatory memorandum to the Bill.
Debate (on motion by Mrs Carnell) adjourned.