The appropriateness of parliamentary and executive immunities in the 21st century
In this lecture Bret Walker will address two related issues that Harry Evans himself consistently regarded as vital to the healthy operation of the Houses, and especially the Senate.
The first involves the informing principles and correct focus of that aspect of parliamentary privilege articulated in Article 9 of the Bill of Rights. Is there unfinished business in relation to the prohibition on the impeaching or questioning in any court or place out of Parliament of the freedom of speech or debates or proceedings in Parliament? What ought now be foreseen as occasions that might be dangerous for the continued vigour of senatorial scrutiny of the Executive, as a result of judicial decision?
The second involves the proper limits of a chamber’s powers to compel the provision of information including the production of documents. In particular, is the virtual immunity from production of so-called Cabinet documents well-founded, or expedient?
The Harry Evans Lecture commemorates the service to the Senate of the longest serving Clerk of the Senate, Harry Evans. This annual lecture will focus on matters championed by Mr Evans during his tenure as Clerk including the importance of the Senate as an institution, the rights of individual senators and the value of parliamentary democracy.