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Parliamentary Privilege




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The publication of Parliamentary Privilege in Australia in 1966 established Enid Campbell as the country’s leading scholar in the area. Now Professor Campbell has written a successor which, while drawing on parts of the earlier work, focusses on issues and problems which have arisen in recent years, particularly since the enactment of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Privileges Act 1987.

Topics specifically examined in the book include –

  • the scope of the central privilege of freedom of speech and debate in parliament;
  • measures adopted by houses of parliaments to regulate exercise of that freedom;
  • restrictions on the uses which may be made of evidence of what has been said and done in the course of parliamentary proceedings;
  • immunities accorded to MPs in respect of various legal processes, such as ones which require them to appear before a court to give evidence;
  • the powers of houses of parliaments to make inquiries and to delegate investigatory powers to committee of their members;
  • the power of houses of parliaments to impose penalties of a criminal character and to discipline their members.
This book, like its predecessor, will be the standard reference on the laws concerning the powers, privileges and immunities of Australian parliaments, their members and committees for the next generation.

Freedom of Speech and Debate
The Correspondence and Records of Members of Parliament
Regulating Speech and Debate in Parliament
Abuse of Parliamentary Privilege and the Citizen’s Right of Reply
Use of Evidence of Parliamentary Proceedings
Judicial Review of Legislative Processes
Waiver of Parliamentary Privilege
Exemption of Members of Parliament from Legal Processes
Parliamentary Inquiries
The Internal Affairs of Parliament
The Penal Powers of Parliament
Suspension and Expulsion of Members of Parliament
Commonwealth Powers and Privileges of State Parliaments
Constitutional and International Legal Issues

Bibliography/ Index

It is unsurprising that one of Australia’s leading scholars in constitutional and administrative law has produced a book that is well-organised and concise, and whose analysis of statute law, case law and parliamentary practice is lucid and powerful. Great learning is brought to bear on insightfully discerned issues and uncertainties. Measured and convincing remarks are made on issues of inevitable reform.

Public Law Review, Vol 16 (2005)

This thorough and thoughtful work, by an author of renown and with a strong background in the subject area, is a most welcome addition to the learning.

Ethos (Law Society of the ACT ), December 2003

It can certainly be said that no one should address any question relating to the privileges of Parliament without closely examining Parliamentary Privilege by Professor Enid Campbell.

Tasmanian Law Society Newsletter, December 2004

Australian parliaments have some remarkable powers and privileges. Among them, varying from place to place, are powers to imprison without fair trial and without appeal, to expel members by a majority vote, and to punish criticism of parliament. In a Dickensian touch, standing orders of some parliaments even prescribe fees to be paid by their prisoners for the privilege of being arrested, transported to gaol and fed in custody. …

Enid Campbell documents this little known and often archaic branch of law in her book. She is the leading Australian authority …Careful elucidation of complexities and difficulties is the great strength of Parliamentary Privilege. …
At its worst, parliamentary privilege combines disturbing clarity on points of law that are obviously unjust … and obscurity on points of considerable importance … Professor Campbell is subtle and cautious on the question of reform, but it is an inevitable theme. One of the book’s most appealing features is its gentle questioning of things that defenders of parliament’s privileges may take for granted. … The discussion is tentative, in keeping with the tone of the book, but the questions are fundamental ones. … Professor Campbell’s book provides impressively lucid and knowledgeable guidance.

Media and Arts Law Review, 2004