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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2704

STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE RT HON WILLIAM MCMAHON CH MP IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CANBERRA - POWERS OVER AND PROTECTION OFFERED TO WITNESSES BEFORE PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES - 26 OCTOBER 1972

Photo of McMahon, William

McMahon, William

Period of Service: 10/03/1971 to 05/12/1972

More information about McMahon, William on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 26/10/1972

Release Type: Statement in Parliament

Transcript ID: 2704

STATEIENT BY THE PRIDE MINISTER, THE RT HON.
WILLIAM McMAHON, CH, MP, IN THE HOUSE
OF REPRESENTATIVES, CANBERRA.
POWERS OVER AND PROTECTION OFFERED TO WITNESSES BEFORE
PARLIAMENTARY COEMITTEES 26 OCTOBER, 1972
Mr Speaker? The paper I have just tabled has been prepared by the
two chief law officers of the Crown, the Attorney-General and the
Solicitor-General. It is entitled " Powers over and protection
offered to witnesses before Parliamentary Committees".
In May 1971, at a time of great public interest in the
subject, I requested the Attorney-General to prepare a paper of the
parliamentary committee system which would give particular attention
to the constitutional position and the provision of guidelines for
the protection of witnesses.
The comprehensive paper I have just tabled was prepared
by the Attorney in collaboration with the Solicitor-General.
Its purpose is to discuss the power of inquiry of committees appointed
by Houses of the Parliament, and the rights and duties of witnesses
appearing before those committees. The paper also considers whether
there are any additional steps which might be taken to safeguard the
interests of witnesses and of persons named in evidence before the
committees. The Government has not yet had an opportunity to consider
the position as disclosed by the paper or the suggestions made for
possible changes. However, in viewt of the great importance of the subject,
the Government has decided that the paper should now be tabled, so
that it can be studied by Members of the Parliament and the public.
As I conclude, Mr Speaker, I want to express to the Attorney-
General and the Solicitor-General my appreciation, which I am sure will
be shared by all who read the paper, of the comprehensiveness of the
paper and of the very considerable amount of time, effort, skill and
learning which has gone into its preparation.

Transcript 2704