The Government has today lodged an appeal to the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction to investigate a referral made by the Legislative Council.
The Government is taking this action to protect the architecture of Victoria’s integrity regime, particularly regarding the relationship between the Ombudsman and the Houses and Committees of the Victorian Parliament.
The Government is concerned that the recent Supreme Court decision has significant resource implications for the Ombudsman and will impact on the Ombudsman’s ability to conduct investigations into other matters in accordance with the functions spelt out in the Ombudsman Act 1973.
The Government is also concerned about the implications of the decision on the question of Privilege as between the Houses.
If the decision stands unchallenged there would appear to be no impediment to one House of the Parliament referring members of the other House to the Ombudsman with regard to any matter whatsoever.
The Government is not seeking to obstruct the Ombudsman from commencing an investigation into the reference if and when she determines to do so.
Reviewed 19 August 2020