Law Reform Commission of Western Australia
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Project 14 - Disqualification for membership of parliament: offices of profit under the Crown

Project No. 14

Commenced: 1969
Completed: 1971

Australia inherited from England its laws relating to the disqualification from Parliament of a person holding an office of profit under the Crown, or being party to a contract with the Crown. These laws reflect the principle of the separation of legislative and executive power. The English law in this area developed somewhat haphazardly and in an overly technical manner. As a result certain aspects of the law inherited by Australia were unsatisfactory.

Terms of Reference

In 1969 the Committee was asked to consider whether any alteration was desirable in the law relating to persons holding offices of profit under, or having contracts with, the Crown in relation to their right to be Members of Parliament.


In 1979 the Acts Amendment and Repeal (Disqualification for Parliament) Bill was introduced into Parliament. This Bill was drafted according to the Committee’s recommendations but lapsed on prorogation. In October 1980, Parliament established a Joint Select Committee to inquire into the law relating to offices of profit under the Crown. In particular the Select Committee was asked to consider the Committee’s report and the 1979 Bill. It generally approved the 1979 Bill, recommending only minor modifications.

In 1984 a modified version of the 1979 Bill was introduced into Parliament and subsequently passed as the Acts Amendment and Repeal (Disqualification For Parliament) Act 1984 (WA). It incorporated the modifications suggested by the Joint Select Committee and substantially implemented the Committee’s recommendations.

Last updated: 31-Jan-2017

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