MPs warned after surgeon outed in parliament
DAY two of Parliament has kicked off with Speaker Curtis Pitt reminding the house of its duty of care when using parliamentary privilege after a surgeon was outed by an MP yesterday over alleged serious malpractice and sexual harassment.
Shadow health spokeswoman Ros Bates yesterday outed a surgeon in parliament, who works between public and private hospitals in Queensland.
Ms Bates did not name the doctor, however tabled several documents which accused him of serious malpractice and sexual harassment.
Some of the documents were not dated and were either anonymous or names had been redacted.
Mr Pitt warned the house: "A person can not use words spoken in parliament for defamation proceedings."
"The article (9 of the Bill of Rights, 1688 UK) does not however provide complete immunity for members for what they say in the house.
"While members are immune from legal action in relation to speeches and documents tabled in the house, members should remain circumspect in exercising that freedom of speech, and that immunity, and apply due diligence in preparing such speeches or documents so as to avoid allegations of abuse of privilege."
Ms Bates told the house yesterday: "They claim that he is a rogue surgeon placing medical trainees and patients at risk."
"They are taking the extraordinary step to speak out and they want me to speak out because they are sick of nothing being done," she said.
Mr Pitt reminded members they can refer serious allegations to the police, Crime and Corruption Committee, Auditor General and the Ombudsman.
"Members should not just come into the assembly and repeat serious allegations," he said.
"Members should consider referring matters to an appropriate agency before making serious allegations public in the assembly, especially if the evidentiary basis for the claims are weak."