previous
next

§ 268. “The Governor-General may .. Transmit .. Amendments.”

The origin of the constitutional legislation enabling the Governor of a colony to recommend to its legislature amendments in proposed laws, may be traced back to 5 and 6 Vic. c. 76, s. 30 (p. 689 supra). It was reproduced in the Constitution Act of Victoria, 1855, sec. 36, as follows:—

“It shall be lawful for the Governor to transmit by message to the Council or Assembly for their consideration any amendment which he shall desire to be made in any


  ― 692 ―
Bill presented to him for Her Majesty's assent; and all such amendments shall be taken into consideration in such convenient manner as shall by the rules and orders aforesaid be in that behalf provided.”

This power of recommending amendments, vested in the Governor, has been found in parliamentary practice a very useful one, and even under our system of responsible government it has been used with advantage. It is of special value, towards the end of a session, when Bills have been passed through all their stages in both Houses of Parliament, and when it has been found that inaccuracies or discrepancies have crept into some of them. In such circumstances Ministers formulate the required amendments, and upon their advice the Governor transmits a message to the House in which the Bill or Bills requiring rectification originated. Thereupon amendments recommended are duly considered and dealt with, and if adopted, are transmitted to the other Chamber for its concurrence.

Disallowance by the Queen.

59. The Queen may disallow269 any law within one year from the Governor-General's assent, and such disallowance on being made known by the Governor-General by speech or message to each of the Houses of the Parliament, or by Proclamation, shall annul the law from the day when the disallowance is so made known.

HISTORICAL NOTE.—The first draft of this clause in the Commonwealth Bill of 1891 was taken from the Act for the Government of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, 1842 (5 and 6 Vic. c. 76, sec. 32). It was to the same effect, except that the period for disallowance was within two years from the receipt of the Bill by the Queen. In Committee, Mr. Cockburn moved to substitute “one year” for “two years,” but this was negatived. He then moved to add:—“Provided that such disallowance shall be exercised on such subjects only as affect Imperial interests and are specified in schedule B.” This also was negatived. (Conv. Deb., Syd., 1891, pp. 763–5.)

At the Adelaide session, 1897, the clause was introduced and adopted in the same form, except that the period for disallowance was one year from the receipt of the Bill. At the Melbourne session, before the first report, this period was altered to “one year from the Governor-General's assent,” and further drafting amendments were made. A verbal amendment was made after the fourth report.

previous
next