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Quigley walks into CCC storm

Attorney-General John Quigley.
Attorney-General John Quigley.

Confusion over the ability of the Corruption and Crime Commission to investigate Members of Parliament has confronted Attorney-General John Quigley on his first day at work.

In a speech to Curtin University this month, CCC commissioner John McKechnie said recent changes had allowed Parliament to keep allegations of misconduct about MPs in-house.

But Mr Quigley said yesterday it was his understanding the changes related only to misconduct under parliamentary privilege, rather than any allegations around corruption or other misconduct.

“It only relates to matters of serious misconduct in relation to parliamentary privilege,” he said.

“It’s only related to things that happen in the chamber or in the committees, not in minister’s offices. It’s only if the conduct involves the exercise of parliamentary privilege, in other words, a speech in the Parliament, actions within the committee, is my understanding.”

But Mr McKechnie argued in his speech on March 7, that bribery could fall under the jurisdiction of Parliament through the Parliamentary Privileges Act.

“MPs are not subject to investigation by the commission or anyone else in respect of minor misconduct,” Mr McKechnie said.

“Nor can MPs be subject to investigation for serious misconduct.”

The CCC chief said his agency was “restrained” from reporting about MPs.

Mr Quigley, who referred to former premier Colin Barnett’s justification of the changes affecting the CCC’s powers in late 2014, said he had not heard of the issue since then.

“If that requires further consideration, the appropriate place is within the joint standing committee of the Corruption and Crime Commission,” he said.

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