I am deeply concerned over revelations that top public servants in Western Australia have trawled through the emails of former Members of Parliament.
Members of Parliament cannot do their job properly, if we have looming over our head, the threat of unelected bureaucrats reading our emails to and from constituents.
The bigger issue is that the affairs of Members of Parliament in Western Australia are managed by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.
In most other states in Australia, that’s done by a dedicated Department of Parliamentary Services. That’s exactly what we need in Western Australia.
There is an obvious potential for a conflict of interest when the people who are running the state, are able to access the emails of those who, like me, are meant to hold them to account.
One of the roles of Parliament is to act as a check and balance against the executive. That doesn’t really work when agents of the executive go through the emails of MPs.
Every now and again, someone would tell me that they have some important information to share with me, but that they’re worried about it being intercepted.
I would say, ‘Don’t worry. Send it to me via email. It’s all protected by parliamentary privilege’.
I can’t say that anymore, can I?