Ministerial Legal Action

Ministerial Legal Action

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (15:23): My question is to the Treasurer. Has the Minister for Child Protection sought indemnification for the legal action she is currently bringing against the member for Badcoe, the shadow minister for child protection? Has that request, if made, been approved and, if so, to what quantum?

The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer) (15:24): No, not to my knowledge. I am not sure whether, if such an application was to be made, it would come to me or to the Attorney-General. In relation to the question, on my understanding—I don't have full line of sight of this issue—the general principles in relation to potential indemnification don't relate to actions that ministers take against others. They relate to indemnification if they are being sued as a result of statements they have made as ministers and they believe that they have been defamed.

That was certainly the practice under the former government, it was certainly the practice under the former Liberal government and it is certainly going to be the practice under this Liberal government. If the actual case to which the honourable member is referring is where a minister of this government believes that they have been defamed by somebody else and they were instituting legal action they wouldn't be entitled to, and therefore they wouldn't seek indemnification from either me, the Attorney-General or indeed anybody else in the government.

I am pretty confident that is an accurate summary of the position. If it is not, I will bring back further information to the honourable member, but I am pretty confident that is an accurate summation of the situation.

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