The removal of the common law right to silence through the operation of section 37 of the ICAC Act is balanced by the fact that answers given under objection cannot be used in civil, criminal or disciplinary proceedings. The right to object is balanced in turn by the fact that the ICAC can draw inferences, or bring contempt proceedings, over a refusal to answer. PIAC is not convinced that the proposed change is necessary and is concerned at the potential for long-standing rights and protections – like the right to silence and the privilege against self-incrimination’ to leach out of the general law under the influence of statutes of more specific application, such as the ICAC Act.
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