Sorry Saga - “It’s actually quite funny people thinking they know more than they actually do”


#2554

Certainly if we follow your lead things will stay as they are and the AFL, ASDA, WADA, CAS and the Australian Government will get with a great miscarriage of justice. #justiceforthe34 is having a go at redressing the injustice and I fully support them. If you don’t, why do do read this thread?
Phil Ochs in his song ‘When I’m gone’ sums up why it is important to redress a wrong.


#2555

Question for the lurking constitutional lawyers here on Blitz:

Is ASADA protected by parliamentary privilege when it gives evidence to the Senate or any committee?

If so, how does it work exactly? Please be specific if you can.

What are the weaknesses in the levels of protection, for example, what if it can be proven they flat out lied?


#2556

Stabby
We know McDevitt misled the senate with his infamous statement on 3 March 2016 when he said ‘all the players had to do was go to the website’. Yet TB4 was not listed as banned and won’t be listed until next year. However, the chair of the relevant senate committee Senator Duniam claims McDevitt did not mislead the Senate.
Witnesses are protected by parliamentary privilege if and only if they are truthful. But of course the public has to rely on the integrity of senators. I’ll dig around the senate rules and post something probably tomorrow.


#2557

Stabby
This document sets it quite well. Let me know if you need more:

https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Senate/Powers_practice_n_procedures/Senate_Briefs/Brief13


#2558

Stabby: It is not really a constitutional matterr, rather Parliamentary practice in relation to action the Parliament can take, in this case the Senate Privileges Committee.
As McDevitt has been cleared by that Committee, I doubt that any further action under that process would deliver anything.
There is another angle which is beyond my level of expertise, ‘ but which you may wish to examine.
The Australian Public Service Values and Codes of Conduct extends to relations with Parliament. The overarching legislation is the Public Service Act, so I suppose the Public Sevice Commissioner would be the go to.
A short guide:
apsc.gov.au


#2559

Thank you.


#2560

My understanding is McDevitt has only been cleared by the Community Services Committee. It never got to the Privileges Committee. I have tried the Public Service Commissioner who claimed he had no jurisdiction.


#2561

Thank you for the link…

So, if I outlined the occasions where McDevitt mislead the Senate by providing evidence to the contrary, could he or perhaps the Attorney Generals Department still claim parliamentary privilege to protect him?


#2562

Parliamentarians enjoy certain Privileges, for example from defamation in respect of statements made in Parliament.
Those Privileges don’t extend to protecting public servants. The Privileges Committee can , and has, inquired into misleading statements by Parliamentarians made in a Parliamentary context.
I thought the relevant Privileges Committee ( Senate or House) could also examine false or misleading testimony by public servants.
Sorry, I got it wrong about which Committee cleared McD. Is there any reason why MCD’s stuff was not taken up by the Senate Privileges Committee? Is it because members of the public cannot make a direct referral?


#2563

Guys, I am enjoying seeing you bringing your specialist knowledge and insights. I really hope that this can be taken further.

It was a disgrace that McDevitt got away with what he did, but then effectively lying to Parliament, only to be exonerated on behalf of the Government by an Opposition spokesperson really made this one of the most unbelievable entries in the Saga Truth-Is-Stranger-than-Fiction Archives.


#2564

I’ll give the Senate Department a ring tomorrow and ask what would happen if a public servant at estimates provided misleading information and when and/or if the Privileges Committee gets involved. I have found the Senate Department quite helpful when answering questions from the public about Senate practice


#2565

Albert, not particularly specialist, but I do remember when working in the Public Service the lengths we would go to to avoid our Mins making false or misleading statements in the House and Senate. ( not easy telling a Min you can’ t say that); as well as the lengths we go to to avoid misleading Committees. You might have noticed in the Cash media leak on the AFP raid how quickly a senior public servant was to submit correcting testimony to the Senate Committee.
We were also able to secure Committee agreements to hold some sessions in camera when they touched on matters of confidentiality.
That’s how it works most of the time and should have worked for McD, even more so, as he was not defending his Minister or government policy, but merely his own actions.
ASADA is as much subject to APS code of conduct as the rest of the Public Service.
If a public outlet could be identified it might be useful to draw up a a factual list of where McD has transgressed the APS Code of conduct, including re Parliament and as a model litigant.


#2566

I called them at the time and was told to write/contact the chair of the estimates committee in which we claim misconduct in the first instance. Then if that isn’t helpful contact the privileges committee.

I could from up the email I got with the info if needed.[quote=“19thman, post:2564, topic:9724, full:true”]
I’ll give the Senate Department a ring tomorrow and ask what would happen if a public servant at estimates provided misleading information and when and/or if the Privileges Committee gets involved. I have found the Senate Department quite helpful when answering questions from the public about Senate practice
[/quote]


#2567

As a side note, today is the last for P Smith at the Australian … retiring


#2568

One more down. Excellent!


#2569

Stabby
Neither AGs nor McDevitt can claim parliamentary privilege. Only Parliament can. What AGs & McDevitt can do, however, is not release something if parliament claims privilege over it. ASADA did that to me over a letter McDevitt wrote to the Senate when I asked for it under FOI. But that shouldn’t be problem in your circumstance.
The problem will be getting the Senate to do something other than look the other way. Senators and members are only accountable to themselves and every three years or so to the electorate.


#2570

(6 years, for Senators)


#2571

( Except for some when there is a double dissolution)


#2572

(or so)


#2573

In recent months the average stay has plummeted…