13 September 2010
Associate Professor Anne Twomey comments on the latest debate concerning the monitoring of internet usage by Members of Parliment in New South Wales.
Former ports minister Paul McLeay quit earlier this month after an audit of internet usage by MPs and staffers revealed he had visited gambling and adult websites.
In a report published in The Australian, Associate Professor Anne Twomey says that while the monitoring of MPs' internet usage was "probably not" an abuse of parliamentary privilege, it was a "tough call".
"Privilege is to make sure members of parliament are free to represent their constituents," she says.
"As an MP you are not allowed to be disadvantaged or prosecuted for anything you do in parliamentary proceedings.
"This is probably outside that.
"If the monitoring went a step further to taking action against MPs for visiting sites they needed access to, that would be problematic."
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