“Some Time” Before Decision on Secret Lionel Murphy Records

After a thirty year wait, historians, lawyers, journalists and the general public will have to wait “some time” more before knowing whether they can have access to allegations put before a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry in 1986 into the conduct of former High Court justice, Lionel Murphy.

By the time it was wound up in September 1986, the Inquiry had distinguished at least fourteen separate allegations against Murphy.

With only the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives permitted to have access to this material until now, they have authorised the Clerks of their respective chambers to see the material so they can provide advice.

The conditions imposed by statute in 1986 mean that even the Clerks have to wait until the 30 year secrecy provisions expire on Sunday before getting access. Continue reading ““Some Time” Before Decision on Secret Lionel Murphy Records”

Search and Seizure and Parliamentary Privilege

The Parliamentary Privilege questions enlivened by the series of raids on Senator Stephen Conroy’s office, the home of an adviser and the server maintained by the Department of Parliamentary Services, arising from the Australian Federal Police’s investigation into the leak of NBN documents brings to a head a series of questions raised across a number of legislatures in Australia, the UK and the US in the past twenty years.

On the matter being raised in the Senate yesterday, a background paper from the Clerk of the Senate, Dr Rosemary Laing was tabled. It indicates that she is not satisfied with the processes used by the Senate until now to deal with disputes over privilege between Senators and law enforcement. Continue reading “Search and Seizure and Parliamentary Privilege”

NSW Crime Commission faces staff upheaval, move from drug crime focus

In a remarkably frank session last week with the Parliamentary Committee responsible for overseeing the NSW Crime Commission, the Crime Commissioner, Mr Peter Hastings QC foreshadowed a renewed period of change, turmoil and upheaval at the state’s secretive organised crime fighting body.

Continue reading “NSW Crime Commission faces staff upheaval, move from drug crime focus”

Dyson Heydon, His “Greatest Teacher” and the Question of Bias

Later today, Dyson Heydon will rule on whether he should recuse himself as Commissioner for the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption. The application on behalf of the ACTU, and several unions who are parties before the Royal Commission, rests on Heydon’s decision to accept an invitation to give the Sir Garfield Barwick address to a legal policy branch of the NSW Liberal Party. The argument is that in accepting the invitation to give the address, and not withdrawing when he was positively alerted to its association with the Liberal Party until such time as the event attracted media attention, could give rise to apprehended bias in his conduct of the Royal Commission. Continue reading “Dyson Heydon, His “Greatest Teacher” and the Question of Bias”