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The law of parliamentary privilege applying to Australia’s national parliament has undergone significant change, as has the way matters of privilege and contempt are dealt with. This paper examines the law in Australia in comparison to the provisions in other parliaments. It does so by summarising three key provisions and commenting on the law of privilege in the wider legal context. It refers to two models for the privileges and immunities which apply in contemporary parliaments, and notes the way key provisions are dealt with in each model. The paper refers to adaptations in this area of law in other parliaments and to assessments that have been made of the needs of modern legislatures. It suggests that, paradoxically, the processes that involved significant reductions in traditional provisions applying to Australia’s national parliament have strengthened the parliament. The paper ends by speculating about some of the issues that may arise in this area in the future.

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