Opinion Number. 1778

Subject

PARLIAMENTARY POWERS AND PRIVILEGESWHETHER PRIVILEGE EXTENDS TO PUBLICATION OF EXTRACTS FROM REPORTS OF PROCEEDINGS OF COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENT OR COMMITTEES APPOINTED BY IT CONTAINING DEFAMATORY STATEMENTS: QUALIFIED PRIVILEGE PROVIDED BY STATE PARLIAMENTS FOR PUBLICATION OF EXTRACTS FROM PROCEEDINGS

Key Legislation

PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS ACT 1940 (UK)

Date
Client
A.A. Calwell M.P., Minister for Immigration and Information

I refer to your oral request for advice as to whether any privilege can be claimed in respect of the publication of extracts from reports of proceedings of the Parliament of the Commonwealth or Committees appointed by it which contain defamatory statements.

In my view publications of this nature are not privileged. I may add, for your information, that each of the States provides for qualified privilege (that is publication must be bona fide and without malice) in so far as extracts from proceedings of the legislature of the particular State is concerned. This legislation is based on provision contained in the Parliamentary Papers Act of the United Kingdom.

[Vol. 37, p. 201]