Privilege claims slammed
WA Attorney-General John Quigley has been accused of providing “false and misleading information” to Parliament.
Mr Quigley used parliamentary privilege in May this year to claim that a former MP's laptop - which is the target of an expenses scandal - may contain material related to “overseas sexual exploitation of minors”.
“I'm not saying there's a crime committed because it's very hard sometimes to tell the age of Asian girls. Very hard,” Mr Quigley said in Parliament last month.
“But there had to be an investigation about what was on the computer and whether it involved the sexual exploitation of minors overseas.
“That is still a current, ongoing inquiry, and a computer is locked away in Parliament somewhere with that evidence.
“That has not yet been examined in detail.”
Legislative Council President Kate Doust has slammed the disclosure, rejecting the suggestion that the laptop had not been examined by police.
“In revealing a covert criminal investigation by WA Police, the Attorney-General claimed that the laptop ‘has not yet been examined in detail’,” Ms Doust said.
“The facts are that WA Police has extensively examined the laptop as part of its investigation.
“This occurred with the full cooperation and assistance of the PPC (Procedure and Privileges Committee) and following the negotiation of memoranda of understanding between WA Police and the PPC.”
The Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) seized the laptop and two hard drives from an MP in 2019 during investigation into the use of MP entitlements, but it was later forced to surrender the items to the Legislative Council.
The council argued at the time that the CCC overstepped its powers by seizing objects subject to parliamentary privilege.
The CCC is fighting for the return of the laptop and hard drives in the Supreme Court.
Mr Quigley rejected the accusation he “misled Parliament and disclosed a covert investigation”.
“That is simply not the case,” Mr Quigley said in a statement.
“The Chair herself revealed the existence of a police investigation in a media statement on December 22 last year.”
Ms Doust said “great care” was taken to ensure the nature of the police investigation remained confidential when she made comments in December.