One of the privileges members of Parliament have is they they can’t be sued for defamation for statements they make in Parliament. This privilege has existed for hundreds of years and is generally regarded as desirable as it allows MPs to expose wrongdoing without being silenced by injunctions and lawsuits.
However, there is a great responsibility on MPs to get their facts right, and to apologise when they get it wrong. They can defame people under the protection of parliamentary privilege, and their victims have no legal recourse.
Winston Peters has a long history of making allegations under parliamentary privilege, and having the vast bulk of the allegations turn out to be without substance. I had hoped that these days were behind us, but this week we have seen two serious allegations made by Peters under parliamentary privilege.
Perhaps one of Mr Peters’ caucus colleagues could ask their leader whether or not he has any proof of his allegation that Mr McKenzie received free overseas travel from Deloitte. And if he is unable to provide them with the proof, implore him not to turn the House of Representatives into a Star Chamber.
Maybe iPredict could do a stock on whether Mr Peters will provide said proof of his allegation, and whether he would apologise for his allegation. I suspect both stocks would sell for under 5c.Tags: By the numbers, parliamentary privilege, Stuff, Winston First