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Prevent reporters from publishing private notes, Montague urges Senate

Published:Saturday | February 16, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Robert Montague

OPPOSITION SENATOR Robert Montague is suggesting that the Standing Orders of Parliament should be amended to apply sanctions to snooping reporters who publish the private notes of lawmakers.

Discussing proposed changes to the Standing Orders of the Senate yesterday, Montague insisted that steps should be taken to bar members of the Fourth Estate from revealing the private notes of senators.

"I am worried, you see, with the advent of social media and everybody wanting to know everything … they (reporters) are gonna move past what is laid to what is not laid (on the table of the House) and give all kinds of interpretations," a seemingly concerned Montague argued.


However, chairman of the Standing Orders Committee of the Senate, the Reverend Stanley Redwood, said there was no provision in the document containing the rules of Parliament to protect the secret notes of lawmakers.

"You would probably have to formulate … .I don't know how far we can go in formulating some kind of protection for that. Each member would just have to be judicious in the management of his or her notes," the chairman advised.

Appearing to have been convinced by the arguments of an insistent Montague, Redwood later confessed that he shared his colleague's concerns, noting that he has had to secure his notes from television cameras positioned above him.

Clerk to the Houses of Parliament, Heather Cooke, chimed in: "I do the same."