Yesterday at 2:34pm Trevor Mallard made a tweet that didn’t just accuse John Key of being associated with tax evasion, it actually stated he was involved.
I have a screenshot, but the tweet has since been deleted, and I’m not going to repeat what it said.
Suffice to say it was highly defamatory and you would think that an Assistant Speaker of the House would know better than to use Twitter from inside the house to defame the Prime Minister.
But deleting the text doesn’t make the defamation any less.
Worse still he tweeted that during Question Time.
Recently the Privileges Committee issued recommendations on the use of social media by members during parliament.
We believe that our examination of this question of privilege provides a timely opportunity to remind members and others of some existing and relevant parliamentary rules and practices, as well as some significant issues that should be borne in mind when using social media. We recommend that these various rules and practices be compiled to form standalone guidance to be issued by the Speaker (Appendix C). In particular, we wish to clarify any misconception about comments made by members on social media, including comments made from the Chamber. Such comments are not part of parliamentary proceedings, nor are they published under the authority of the House. Therefore, they may not be protected by parliamentary privilege. Members should be aware that anything said on social media is potentially actionable in court. Members should also be careful not to disclose confidential select committee proceedings or reports through any means, including social media. The House may treat any such breach of confidentiality as a contempt. Another potential contempt that may be committed through social media is an adverse reflection on the character or conduct of a member (including the Speaker).