Back to All News

Tassal referred to Senate President over potential contempt of the Senate

Media Release
Peter Whish-Wilson 3 Nov 2016

Greens spokesperson for Healthy Oceans, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, has referred Tassal to the Senate for a potential breach of parliamentary privilege following allegations on 4 Corners that they attempted to influence a Senate Inquiry witness.

Four Corners revealed that Tassal wrote to the proprietor of Dover Bay Mussels, Warwick Hastwell saying, “We remind your clients of their obligations not to make disparaging statements whether in relation to the Senate Enquiry [sic] or to the media or otherwise.” Warwick Hastwell was scheduled to be a witness at the Senate Inquiry into the fin-fish aquaculture industry in Tasmania but ultimately did not attend the Hearing at his designated time or at any other point.

Senator Whish-Wilson said, “The Parliament has strong powers to protect the integrity of its process and especially in relation to the protection of witnesses.

“It is critical that witnesses can provide evidence to Senate Inquiries without constraints. I am concerned by the allegation that Tassal may have sought to constrain a witness in what they could or couldn’t present to a Senate Inquiry.

“The Parliamentary Privileges Act 1987 and the Senate Standing Orders set out clearly that it is contempt of the Senate for a person or company to use intimidation, threat or inducement in relation to another person’s evidence before a Committee.

“I have referred this matter to the President of the Senate as required by the Standing Orders and the matter is now in his hands,” he concluded.


Relevant procedural information below:

Parliamentary Privileges Act 1987 – Section 12 Protection of Witnesses

Guide to Senate Procedure – Parliamentary Privilege

Senate Standing Orders - 81 Privilege motions

Back to All News