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Country Members Accommodation Allowance
Statement by the Hon. Bruce Lander QC, Independent Commissioner Against Corruption
On 23 July 2020 I announced that I had commenced an investigation into the conduct of a number of Members of Parliament in respect of claims made for the payment of the Country Members Accommodation Allowance.
During the course of the investigation I have sought from Members of Parliament and their staff information relating to claims made for this allowance. Some Members and their staff have not provided that information to me. Those Members and their staff have asked me to delay my request for documents and information until Parliament has determined whether or not a claim for Parliamentary privilege is to be made.
I do not think that the documents or information sought would be protected by Parliamentary privilege. However the privilege is that of Parliament.
The Parliament, which is currently in the winter recess cannot consider the question of Parliamentary privilege until it returns on 8 September 2020, which is after my term as Independent Commissioner Against Corruption ends.
Although I am continuing to seek evidence and information from other persons and sources, the potential for a claim for Parliamentary privilege has had the effect of delaying the investigation because I have not been able to examine documents and other evidence in the custody of the Members and their staff, relevant to the matters under investigation. Also I have not been able to interview or examine the Members or their staff.
After 1 September 2020 it will be a matter for my successor, the Hon. Ann Vanstone QC, as Commissioner, to decide whether the investigation should continue and if so the course of the investigation.
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The publication of this information has been authorised by the Commissioner under section 56 of the ICAC Act.