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Privileges Complaint

Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley has today written to the Speaker over claims made by Attorney General Margaret Wilson about a secret payout to John Yelash after he was slandered by the Prime Minister.

"There is a huge amount of public interest in the Prime Minister's use of a confidentiality agreement to gag a man she admits having defamed.

"Under intense questioning by myself and others in Parliament yesterday the Attorney General, Margaret Wilson, claimed Mr Yelash and his lawyers had made the request for the inclusion of an extraordinarily punitive confidentiality clause in the settlement.

"Peter Williams QC has subsequently come out publicly and taken the, again extraordinary, step of saying the Attorney General's assertion is a calumny - an absolute and complete lie.

"There is intense public interest in this matter, and in claims by the Prime Minister that she would set new standards - standards which are now found to be wanting. It is therefore important that the truth is established on this matter.

"I have accordingly taken the step of putting this matter before the Speaker of the House, and asking him to put it before the Privileges Committee where parties can be called to give evidence and the matter can be investigated," Mrs Shipley said.

Ends




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