14 February 2013
The Federal Government will close the loophole that leaves Federal MPs exposed to costly lawsuits.
As flagged in October last year, parliamentarians on all sides of politics will be indemnified for public liability, workers’ compensation and management liability.
Special Minister of State Gary Gray said today the decision did not require legislation and flowed from the recommendations in 2010 of the Belcher Report – the first comprehensive review of entitlements in more than 35 years.
“The government has progressively implemented the Belcher recommendations by scrapping and slashing expensive travel entitlements, including Life Gold Pass, overseas study travel and post-service travel,” Mr Gray said.
“The Belcher review found that the absence of workers compensation coverage represented a considerable risk and was out of step with modern community and public sector standards and needed to be addressed by the government.
“The committee also pointed out that parliamentarians are not covered by public liability insurance for activities outside their electorate offices or Parliament. This leaves them exposed to potential civil claims if there are accidents at street stalls or in an election campaign.
Mr Gray said legal coverage would be provided for management liability and would apply from July 1.
He said the liability insurance would not cover wilful, reckless, dishonest, fraudulent, or malicious acts.
“In an increasingly litigious society where politically motivated litigation has the potential to affect the work of MPs and the Parliament, the threat of litigation itself may affect behaviour in the Parliament,” Mr Gray said. “We need to guard against this.
“The approach to addressing these concerns will be to purchase management liability insurance similar to that commercially available to company directors for professional indemnity purposes.”
|John Arthur||0408 991 261|